Mist Moves in to Create a Superior Chiller

July 5, 2008

After the success of The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, the reunion of writer Stephen King and director Frank Darabont always seemed like a dream cinema ticket.

And the Mist doesn’t disappoint, going well beyond its thin King source material to create a super scary chiller that also offers an apocalyptic message about what happens to mankind when the trappings of civilisation fall apart.

After a devastating storm, a father (Thomas Jane) and his young son (Nathan Gamble) take shelter from a creepy fog in a packed supermarket.

This far from ordinary mist contains all kind of terrors (from acid-spitting spiders to tentacled monsters) but how far does it stretch and should Jane and his son wait for rescue or head out into the unknown?

As well as facing the flesh-crawling bugs and beasts that are hiding in the mist, the supermarket survivors are soon at odds with each other.

Jane’s nasty neighbour (Andre Baugher) is planning an escape; a trio of soldiers from a nearby military base may have something to hide and a bible basher (Marcia Gay Harden) wants to bring God’s wrath down on everyone.

Darabont’s film, often so still and quiet that the meer silence gives you the creeps, turns standard B movie material into something a bit special.

You forget that James Herbert, in book form, and John Carpenter, at the cinema, have ploughed the same territory and wait with baited breath for the next terror to strike.

In truth, Jane’s a rather lumpen leading man and not half as heroic as the scrawny supermarket cashier (Chris Owen) and the female lead (Laurie Holden) barely registers. Harden’s god botherer also takes some swallowing, even accepting that America’s religious fervour is greater than ours.

But Darabont gets away with it by his skilful manipulation of the story and his desire to give us a bravely bleak vision that goes well beyond the Hollywood norm. Like Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, he uses the story to ask questions about the wisdom of our consumer society and the impact of our environmental policies.

Our nightmare is being robbed of our luxuries and the mind blowing ending showcases a nasty warning for America’s high polluting, car-clinging society.

(c) 2008 Derby Evening Telegraph. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.

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