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The Perfect Monster Movie: The Mist

Published November 22, 2007 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of MGM.
Stephen King's The Mist Poster Stephen King's The Mist
The Mist is the perfect monster movie. It delivers on the creature scares but makes the human beings more frightening than anything else. I'd say it's the best Stephen King movie since The Green Mile but that's only comparing it to Dreamcatcher and Hearts in Atlantis. Well, it edges out 1408 by a hair.

Review: Stephen King's The Mist

King's story is a brilliantly contained construction. After a storm, a dad takes his son to the supermarket for supplies, when a fog envelops the store. There are creatures in the mist so nobody can leave. They have to survive on the supplies available in the supermarket, and once the infighting starts, then they're in some sh**.

Nobody can capture the voice of Stephen King like Frank Darabont. These characters talk like King characters, cussing, delivering non sequitur anecdotes, sometimes babbling. It's just down and dirty enough to remove the Hollywood polish. All the relationships are instantly established.

The film is sincere and never condescends to the material. Yes, it's about monsters surrounding a supermarket, but the drama begins quickly and we're buying into it. There are monsters out there, and whether you think they look real or not, that's what these characters have to deal with.

I don't remember the story well enough to know if every incident was inspired from the book or if some were invented. Either way, it keeps little incidents coming to build the tension. The generator door, the rope, the pharmacy and more are all new ways the characters are forced to deal with their peril.

The situation makes the monsters scary. We've seen tentacles and bugs and such creatures before, but there are always new monster powers that catch people off guard. They create many of their own problems too, like sloppy home made weapons that cause more internal damage than external.

Of course, it's the social commentary between the humans that is the heart of The Mist. The ignorant blame the intelligent for not making them understand the issue. Circumstances validate the religious zealot's sermons. The simply rational are at odds with the fantastical situation.

The only thing that may be questionable is that they define where the mist came from. I don't recall if that was in the book, but it seems like it's way more interesting if it's unknown. They could still have their dramatic ending without spelling it out, but I guess if I'm buying into fog creatures then I should buy into their explanation too.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of MGM.

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