Thursday, November 4, 2010
THE MIST (2007). Director: Frank Darabonte.
David Drayton (Thomas Jane) finds himself locked in a living nightmare when he and his son Billy (Nathan Gamble) are trapped in a huge food mart with dozens of other people when a mist containing monstrous, man-eating creatures envelopes the area. It seems that a scientific project has opened a door into another dimension. Based on a fairly cheesey if effective Stephen King novella, The Mist delivers a lot of dramatic intensity and admirably eschews the obligatory campiness and comic relief of most modern-day horror items. The FX work, which includes thick wriggling tentacles that come out of the mist, horrible spider-like creatures, a gargantuan six-legged horror that towers over the landscape, and more, are excellent, and there are some solid performances from Jane, little Gamble, and the rest of the cast as well. Mrs. Carmody, enacted by Marcia Gay Harden with some aplomb, is a chilling portrait of the mindless, compassion-less fundamentalist. Jeffrey DeMunn, an appealing Laurie Holden, Frances Sternhagen, and Sam Witwer as a terrified soldier all give stand-out performances. The ending packs an emotional wallop but is a bit illogical [not to give anything away, but surely anyone trying to escape in a car would have driven directly to a gas station!] More gruesome than the novella, but also a lot better.
Verdict: Unremittingly grim but entertaining in spite of it. ***.