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The Mist

Fear Changes Everything

A strange mist blows into a seaside town in Maine. This mysterious mist brings with it a ghastly assortment of creatures that conveniently have an insatiable thirst for human flesh. Local artist David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and his son manage to hole up in a grocery store with several other locals and tourists while seemingly everyone outside is eaten or otherwise killed. Thus begins the creepy collaboration between director Frank Darabont and Stephen King in The Mist.

Darabont and King previously worked together in the classic The Shawshank Redemption and more recently in The Green Mile. Darabont clearly has a gift for adapting Kingís material. The Mist is a bit different in that itís more of a straight up horror film than either of the aforementioned.

However, The Mist brings with it a bit more than your typical horror film. Not only do the poor souls holed up in the grocery store have monsters and the unknown on the outside to contend with, the fear and panic inside the store serves to bring out the worst in more than a few creating a perhaps equally dangerous situation inside.

Perhaps the best personification of the worst mankind has to offer is the religious zealot, Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden). A female version of Jim Jones, Carmody views the strange mist as the "end of days" and has no qualms quoting scripture and calling out for "expiation" as the only answer to appease God. At first, Carmodyís ravings fall largely on deaf ears. But, as deaths mount and panic rises, Carmody finds herself with quite the following.

Marcia Gay Harden does an excellent job as the bitterly judgmental zealot Mrs. Carmody. Her wide eyed ravings are frightening, but are also oddly compelling at times. Thomas Janeís brings a voice of reason in his turn as David Drayton, but itís a voice that becomes increasing quiet and ineffectual in the face of the rising panic and fear. Davidís allies become fewer and fewer. In relatively short order, wandering outside into the mist becomes a bit more palatable for David, his son, and the few not brainwashed by Carmody.

Frank Darabont does a solid job of creating the feel of a small town in an isolated part of Maine. Darabont films in a vaguely cinema verite style and uses an abundance of extreme close-ups that makes one feel as though they are in the midst of the crisis and also a bit claustrophobic. Thereís a palpable uneasiness that makes you uncomfortable right from the beginning in The Mist.

However, The Mist is not The Shawshank Redemption. Darabont does a fairly heavy-handed job of reminding us that "we" are our own worst enemy. This may be less his fault and more the fault of Stephen King, ultimately. But, this doesnít detract too much from what is an otherwise engaging film with solid performances from Marcia Gay Harden and Thomas Jane.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars