The Mist

Frank Darabont, USA, 2007, 126 min.

A mist quickly descends upon a sleepy Maine town. There may or may not be things inside. Unseen things that are killing people. Its a solid premise for a horror/drama, but the script and direction take too many missteps and the characters are nothing but caricatures.

It starts off promising with the threat of the mist arriving almost as a background to some other real-life drama. But the film fails to deliver. When the cast of characters are all stuck in a supermarket together, we realize that they are only going to be one-dimensional, and anything more is irrelevant.

The actors do a decent job but the roles are poorly written and there really isn’t a way to play them besides as being over-the-top. Marcia Gay Harden’s Jesus-freak is the prime example. Frank Darabont seems to want this. He keeps the style of his previous films by telling rather than showing, and by milking every scene for all it’s worth.

There are other major issues. The creatures in the mist are revealed and shown to be made of  so-so CGI, ruining any suspense that could have been built by keeping them hidden and hinting at the monstrosities.  There are also other obvious mistakes. The camera should have been kept with the characters, instead of floating about in the mist looking in. It distances the people from the audience.

Events in the film seem forced, with characters making stupid or unmotivated decisions purely to create a set-piece or to keep one from ending. This is very evident in the shock-conclusion. The ending is good in theory, but again Frank Darabont tries to enhance the impact by delivering unrealistic timing, nonsensical motivations, and heavy-handed direction.

By the end, the promising premise has been ruined completely, and The Mist ends up being another forgettable entry in the standard horror genre.

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