In honor of Stephen King’s birthday this past Monday, September 21, this entry is the final installment of my three-post review trilogy. In this post, I will review the movie The Mist, starring Thomas Jane.
The Mist (2007)
Dir. Frank Darabont; Starring Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Toby Jones
I went into The Mist already knowing the ending, thanks to a conversation with another film critic a few months ago. Despite this, however, the emotional impact of this movie was not lost on me. In fact, knowing the ending made it all the more powerful. But I won’t assume you all feel the same way, so this post will remain free of spoilers.
The Mist, based on a Stephen King novel of the same name, follows David Drayton (Jane) and his son Billy (Nathan Gamble) after a violent storm takes down trees and power lines, destroying parts of their property in the process. The two are tasked to go to the supermarket to pick up necessary, non-perishable supplies to hold them over until the power comes back on. While in the crowded market, a heavy fog overtakes the building. It’s not long before those trapped inside begin to realize that there’s something more sinister waiting for them outside.
Honestly, I’m just going to come out and say that I loved this movie. The Mist cleverly uses the theme of the unknown to its advantage. It’s a common horror device, this idea that what you can’t see is much more frightening than what you can see. Everyone fears the unknown, especially when that unknown is producing dead bodies. I found myself clutching my poor cat to my chest, I was so on edge. Even Stephen King himself has said that he was genuinely frightened by this adaptation of his novel (Source).
There are no jump scenes. Or, at least, there are no scenes that made me jump, thankfully (my cat is a different story!). This story relies on the content to create the fear, which always leads to quality work, in my own opinion. The great thing about this movie, however, is that the scariest part isn’t even necessarily the monsters lurking in the mist. Sure, that’s terrifying, the unknown, but the scariest part was how the people reacted to their situation. The Mist really shows what fear and mob mentality can do to a group of people, and that’s both fascinating and terrifying.
The acting was good. I won’t say phenomenal, but it was good. Marcia Gay Harden’s performance as Mrs. Carmody was pretty amazing. She really captured the ultra-religious, unstable woman that she needed to be. Toby Jones was also great as Ollie Weeks. He was the level headed beta male that followed all of David’s orders. He was sarcastic and brave and funny. In fact, after Harden and Jones’ performances, Thomas Jane fell short as our heroic lead. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but his performance was just a bit off. I didn’t believe him.
All in all, though, this movie is a great horror film. It’s terrifying and tragic; it doesn’t rely on jump scares; and it even terrified the great Stephen King! I highly recommend it to anyone who isn’t a new parent (seriously, you can’t say I didn’t warn you).
Let us know what you think in the comments!