Movie Monday (or actually Elokuvamaanantai) is a new finnish blog that challenges authors to craft a weekly movie-related page on a given theme.
The Mist is a Stephen King novella first published in Skeleton Crew collection. Frank Darabont renders it into film by staying quite true to the original.
The trappings of the tale are simple: a bunch of smalltowners are caught in a store when all connections to the outside world are suddenly severed by something inhumane, violent and lethal.
The film is based on an early eighties short story, and while the milieu has been changed to accommodate modern trappings such as cell phones, the Mist is ultimately grounded in the earlier, paranoid era. The special effects do not revel in constant CGI either, even though there’s plenty of creatures shown.
The casting, while good, did not net any A-listers onto the roll. Marcia Gay Harden’s famous take on religious fanaticism is the most referenced part of the movie – at times it feels a bit hollow, but most of the time she puts on a genuinely demented display of an apocalyptic prophet.
The novella ends on a vaguely upbeat note. In the film the ending is the most significant departure from the book. The last moments are deep in bleak desperation, a stark contrast from the usual Hollywood-fare.
The trailer, off Youtube, showcases the twin features of the movie: fear of the unknown that turns out to be all correct and the frightening ease that the fellow inmates turn the situation into a Lord of the Flies-scenario, where reason is amongst the very first victims.
The film is more of a supernatural thriller than a horror movie, but I’d give it a definite arachno/insecto-phobia alert, and also note that the bleak ending does not exactly make The Mist a 24-carat date movie.
The dvd-version gets a moral bonus point for the included director’s cut, a black & white take on the whole movie. The shades of gray turn the eponymous mist to an even greater menace, able to hide anything and everything, just outside the range of vision.
The Mist that has served as inspiration to one of the greatest video game franchises of the last decade: Valve’s Half-life saga gives the player a more active protagonist in a world where the windows to alternate dimensions have been opened.