The Mist (15)



Horror (2007)
126mins US

Starring: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden, Andre Braugher, Toby Jones
Director: Frank Darabont
Writer(s): Frank Darabont
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

In the wake of a storm, the sleepy community of Bridgton, Maine is submerged in thick, choking mist that refuses to dissipate. Illustrator David and his eight-year-old son Billy seek refuge in the local supermarket run by Ollie, joining many of the locals including their next-door neighbour Brent, school teacher Amanda and deranged Bible basher Mrs Carmody. When one of the shop worker's is killed by a tentacled beast lurking in the mist, the townsfolk face a battle for survival against a menagerie of carnivorous beasties like nothing they have seen before.

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LondonNet Film Review
The Mist

Writer-director Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile) delves once more into author Stephen King's twisted imagination for a skin-crawling thriller about a small town under siege from bloodthirsty creatures...

On paper, this horrific yarn sounds suspiciously like a rip-off of John Carpenter's 1980 classic The Fog. Spookily, King's novella was originally published as part of an anthology that very same year, then reprinted in an edited form as part of the celebrated 1985 short story collection Skeleton Crew.

While Carpenter's film conjured a nightmarish vision of vengeful ghosts, The Mist imagines hordes of mutated creepy crawlies with an insatiable hunger for human flesh, unleashed upon the earth because of mankind's curiosity. However, beneath the bloodshed, King's story masterfully probes the darkest recesses of the human condition. At times, The Mist chills to the bone as characters are held hostage by fear and paranoia, ensuring their own survival by sacrificing the very people they should be protecting. Friends and neighbours become sworn enemies, even more deadly than the acid-spitting giant spiders or mantis-like monstrosities that prowl the rolling gloom. As the unlikely hero wisely observes, "If you scare people badly enough, you'll get them to do anything."

In the aftermath of a devastating storm, which uproots trees and decimates power lines, the sleepy community of Bridgton, Maine is submerged in thick, choking mist that refuses to dissipate. Illustrator David (Thomas Jane) and his eight-year-old son Billy (Nathan Gamble) seek refuge in the local supermarket run by Ollie (Toby Jones). The aisles are full of familiar faces including belligerent next-door neighbour Brent (Andre Braugher), pretty schoolteacher Amanda (Laurie Holden), deranged Bible basher Mrs Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden) and cashier Norm (Chris Owen). When one shop worker is killed by a multi-tentacled beast in the swirling mist, the townsfolk face a battle for survival against a menagerie of carnivorous beasties like nothing they have seen before. "It's death!" proclaims Mrs Carmody, "It's the end of days."

Although it may lack the emotional wallop of Darabont's previous Oscar nominated work, The Mist seeps under our skin as the survivors separate into warring factions, each willing to use violence to keep the voracious creatures and one another at bay. Jane is an appealing flawed yet resilient hero, concerned with protecting his petrified son as he comes to terms with the magnitude of the situation. "What the hell were those tentacles even attached to?" gasps David after one hellish encounter. Harden is genuinely terrifying as a brimstone-spouting puppetmaster, sparking the film's most shocking sequence when one local is sacrificed to rousing cheers from her crazed acolytes. When Carmody sets her beedy eyes on little Billy as the next lamb to the slaughter, our blood runs cold. Some of the visual effects aren't sufficiently polished and supporting characters are thinly sketched but the downbeat finale certainly takes the breath away.

- Sam Cannon


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