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The Mist
Review written on: April 6th, 2008

The Mist Review

I’m a big fan of Stephen King, so I don’t see any of the movies based on his work without reading the book first. The Mist was originally a novella. It’s about a small town in Maine that gets hit with a horrible storm, followed by a thick mist. The townspeople quickly realize that something isn’t right with the mist – there are things in the mist. I really liked the novella, and immediately rented the movie to see if it lived up to its source material

The movie goes right along with the book, for the most part. There are even scenes that are almost word for word from the novella. The story starts with the storm hitting the area with intense lightning, which of course knocks down several trees and knocks out the power. David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and his son head into town to stock up on food since whatever was in the fridge is going to spoil. Drayton’s neighbor Brent Norton (Andre Braugher) joins him, despite their nasty property dispute and mutual dislike for one another. Once they reach the supermarket, however, the odd mist that was seen on the lake that morning has moved into town and is getting thicker. Pea soup thick. Can’t-see-five-feet-in-front-of-you thick. And then someone comes running out of the mist screaming about things in the mist taking someone. His nose is bloodied, and he’s frantic, but he convinces the people in the market to shut the doors.

After another close encounter with the things in the mist, this one with tentacles that would put any large octopus to shame, David and Ollie Weeks (a store clerk played by Toby Jones) explain to the people that they need to stay inside and defend themselves.

As with any situation where people are trapped together for a long period of time, some people go crazy. Others drift over to Mrs. Carmody (played by the immensely talented Marcia Gay Harden), who is preaching about the sins of the world and how the only way to get rid of the mist and the things in it is to give a blood sacrifice.

I really liked the movie, which was a nice surprise because I wasn’t expecting to. It was scary like the book, and the actors were great representations of their book counterparts. I even liked the completely different ending. 

In the novella, David, his son, and a handful of others make a break for his truck. They make it to a Howard Johnson hotel, and the ending is left open. We don’t know if they make it past the mist, or if they die trying. 

The movie ends with David, his son, Amanda Dunfrey (Laurie Holden), and two others making it to the car. They run out of gas while still in the mist. They have a gun with four bullets, but there are five of them. David says he’ll figure something out, and shoots the other four. He gets out of the car to tempt the things in the mist into coming to get him to get it over with quickly. As the rumbling noises get closer, the mist starts to clear and instead of a horrible monster, we see Army tanks.

The movie ending is so hopelessly bleak that it hits you like a punch to the stomach. Since the tone of the movie was so dark (whereas the novella had a stronger sense of hope), I think it fit a lot better than the original novella ending.

The one thing I didn’t like that the movie changed was the explanation. While they still don’t completely, 100% explain how the mist and the creatures came to be, they get a lot closer than the book did.

Overall it was a great horror flick. The monsters weren’t nearly as scary as they were in my imagination, but then again they never are. It had its cheap scares, blood & gore, and even a heavy sense of dread that most horror movies can’t seem to muster up. I definitely recommend picking this one up.

 

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