Thursday, 1 April 2010

Film Review: THE MIST (2007)

Director: Frank Darabont
Writers: Frank Darabont (screenplay) and Stephen King (novel)
Running time: 120 mins (approx)
Certificate (UK): 15

UK Release Date: 4th July 2008

Watched on DVD Thursday 1st April 2010.


First of all, I’ll admit to being a fan of the work of Stephen King, like many others I have read, and enjoyed, a lot of his works. However, I had not read this particular story before watching this film. The setting is a small town in Maine where a powerful thunderstorm has just wreaked havoc and the townsfolk are just getting things back together.

David Drayton, an artist who designs movie posters for a living, leaves his wife at home and heads to the local town store. He has his son, Billy with him, along with neighbour Brent Norton. As they set off they notice a mist coming down from the hills and across the lake. There are a lot of Army personnel on the road headed out of town; they are from the base situated in the hills. On arrival at the store they go about their shopping, David tries the payphone since he cannot get any service on his mobile but it’s not working either. All of a sudden, as the mist envelops the store an old man with a bloody nose runs in and tells the people there not to go outside. There’s something in the mist and it took his friend. One man makes a run for his car but we only hear his screams. They are now trapped in the store with, who knows what outside. Already people are divided, local ‘crazy’ woman, Mrs. Carmody begins quoting scripture and David’s neighbour, Brent begins trying to get people to make a run for it. David gets some help from teacher, Amanda Dunfrey; she looks after Billy while he tries to figure a way out with a store clerk, and friend, Ollie Weeks. When a young man is killed by something unworldly as he’s trying to go outside at the back of the store, people still will not believe it’s dangerous out there. A group of them try to get out but fail to get very far. The divisions in the group get wider the longer it goes on and Mrs. Carmody’s cries of holy retribution get more and more fanatical followers. I really don’t want to say too much more for fear of giving too much away, but I will say that David, Billy, Amanda and a few others do make an attempt to get outside.

It’s a pretty well made film but some of the CGI wasn’t top quality and did let it down slightly. It’s quite a tense storyline that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Decent performances from all of the main characters, Thomas Jane as David Drayton, Marcia Gay Harden was great as Mrs. Carmody, Laurie Holden as Amanda Dunfrey, Andre Braugher as Brent Norton and Toby Jones as Ollie Weeks.

As with a lot of Stephen King stories, this is a very character driven piece and as such it works pretty well. The only thing I find with it is that the characters are sometimes portrayed as a little too much larger than life. For instance, Brent Norton is a lawyer and is adamant that there is nothing harmful outside. Even after the young man is killed he will not go into the back of the store to see the evidence. He’s convinced the locals are trying to play a prank on him, even after some others go back there and tell him they’re telling the truth. But I digress. Of course, because it’s a horror film, the people have to do the most stupid things possible to put themselves in harms way. But I’ll overlook all these cliché moments mainly because there is a really good ending. And no, I’m not going to give it away. Over all, it’s a little cliché in places, but stick with it, the ending is pretty unexpected: recommended.

My score: 7.4/10

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