The Mist

Film, Horror
3 out of 5 stars
The 100 best horror films, horror movies, The Mist

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Ever since his first big-screen Stephen King adaptation, ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, there’s been feverish expectation for each new work from director Frank Darabont. His latest, set in smalltown Maine, which fleshes out a horror novella King wrote in 1980, may not achieve that earlier film’s ‘classic’ status, but it makes for a surprisingly engaging, pleasingly old-fashioned feast of well-worked-out narrative and B-movie-style thrills.

Thomas Jane’s book illustrator, David, is visiting the local mini-market with his son and a neighbour when a mysterious mist descends and a lock-up siege begins. Outside, bloodied men emerge from the murk, otherworldly carnivorous CGI insects splatter the shop glass, and as giant tentacles invade the loading bay, a micro-political war for ascendancy in defence tactics breaks out between David, the shop employees, a black lawyer with inappropriate private agendas (André Braugher) and a strident Christian fundamentalist (Marcia Gay Harden).

What’s interesting about Darabont’s frightfest is the care and efficiency he takes ensuring our involvement with those tense – and frustrating – internal store dynamics. There’s a clear sense of national crisis and military culpability in the air – rumours spread of local Defense Department scientific experiments gone wrong and a couple of implicated soldiers shopping at the time are shitting their army boots. But pleasingly Darabont doesn’t overplay either King’s pre-9/11 liberal allegory nor its post-9/11 subtextual implications. Rather he places his trust in old and venerable genre credentials, taken from ’50s paranoid exploitation movies and sci-fi horror films, to which he applies an adroit Hitchcockian attention to detail, and a series of well-differentiated character performances that lets the icky flying beasts, the tantalising human stupidity, the chaos and the primal fear speak for themselves.



Release details

Cast and crew

Frank Darabont
Frank Darabont
Thomas Jane
Toby Jones
Marcia Gay Harden
Laurie Holden
André Braugher
William Sadler
Alexa Davalos

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