As Stephen King has authored more than 50 novels, it’s no surprise that sometimes adaptations are made from works that I’ve never read or in this one’s case heard about until after I’ve seen the film. The Mist is such a case. Going in blind was the perfect way to view this film, as the stories twists and turns are surprising. Plus being character driven, I never compared them to their literary counterparts. The Mist is director Frank Darabont’s third full length Stephen King adaptation, following both The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption. Both of which are absolutely fantastic films all the way from the screenplays, also written by Frank Darabont, all the way to the breath-taking visuals.
The story begins with David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and his wife Stephanie (Kelly Collins Lintz) survey the damage to their home after the nights violent storm. The couple with their son Billy (Nathan Gamble) watch as the mist descends off the mountains on the other side of the lake, slowly making its was towards them. David, along with son and his neighbor Brent Norton (Andre Braugher) head into town for supplies to make temporary repairs. While at the supermarket, local man Dan Miller (Jeffery DeMunn) runs in bleeding and screaming about something in the mist as the mist settles around the store. As the people inside are forced to deal with the strange, monstrous creatures that reside within the mist, the survivors split into to factions. Those that follow Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden) a religious fanatic and those that follow David. As the situation worsens Mrs. Carmody’s group start calling for sacrifices as tensions rise, forcing David and his band to leave the retaliative safety of the store to find help.
The first thing that I have to mention is the outstanding performances from the entire cast. I can’t think of a single person who I feel didn’t bring the absolute A-game here. But if I have to choose favorites and since this is the internet where such things are required, Marcia Gay Harden knocks it out the park. She delivers a performance with such intensity, you begin to fear her far more than the monsters that dwell outside. Her performance starts off quite and timid, but like a freight train with broken brakes one she gets going there’s no stopping her. Her performance is closely matched by Thomas Jane, who had appeared in another Stephen King film Dreamcatcher. He plays a man that’s struggling to survive and keep his sanity, not for himself but for his son.
The effects have aged increasingly well. This is due in large part that the monsters are used sparingly with most of the films 126 minute run devoted to the survivors, over that of battling the creatures. Also you only occasionally get a really good look at them as most of the time they are at least partially obscured by the mist or moving very fast. Furthermore, since the creatures themselves are so varied and rarely seen, your imagination fills in the gaps making them all the more terrifying.
If I have any complaints it would be that the film drags at times. Not often and never from long, just long enough to notice. But this isn’t edge of your seat thriller/action film, it has a more deliberate slow pace that draws you into the characters. This makes you fear for their safety all the more and be shocked when they meet their ends.
Final thoughts, other than the few slow points, The Mist is every bit a great adaptation as both The Green Mile and Shawshank. For those that have seen either of those films know what a heavy compliment that is. But I can’t stress how wonderful the acting is from beginning all the way to the shocking conclusion. With so many wonderful performances from the supporting cast it’s almost uncanny. So therefore The Mist receives an outstanding and well deserved perfect score, 10/10. (On a fun side not this film actually scared Stephen King! Talk about compliments.)