The Mist (2007)

32.

★★★

Directed by: Frank Darabont
Written by: Frank Darabont (screenplay), Stephen King (novel)
Starring: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden and Laurie Holden

Not quite the family picnic we had in mind

With some serious smoke machines, The Mist plays up our fear of the unknown – trapping a group of ordinary people in a grocery store while a thick mist shrouds them from a mysterious killing phenomena outside. Based on the novel by Stephen King, The Mist draws out suspense whilst simultaneously throwing surprises every now and then to spike our interest.

After a violent storm the night before, David (Jane) is just one of the many people who turn to the grocery store for supplies. But when a strange, thick mist shrouds the outside world, the grocery shoppers realize they are trapped as something out there starts taking lives. With his son to think of and tension rising amongst the survivors, David must try to figure out a way to reach help before chaos reigns in the Quick-E-Mart.

While the film reeks of supernatural and science-fictiony hoo-ha, rife with gory antics and overly detailed creatures with an appetite for human flesh, the different personalities of the characers that come into conflict and co-operation keep the film from being complete fluff. This might also have something to do with the committed and convincing performances delivered by the cast who help us accept that the danger is real and close, despite having steaming tentacles and skeletal faces. The film, however, quickly loses the energy and suspense that it was able to instill in the first act. As the danger outside takes a form that is more specific than simply a mist, the severed bodies and skin-ripping horror is not enough to sustain our interest. In addition to this, the overbearing religious sermons of one particularly annoying shopper grows tedious as a threat to the survival of David, his son, and other loyal shoppers who still have a hold on their sanity.

Nevertheless, The Mist wins us with an ending that manages to give us bloody satisfaction even if we see it coming. Just when we think the film has dwindled into tedium, it picks back up with a twist that matches the level of potential the film promised from the start.

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