Post Millennial Trauma: The Mist (2007)

Quick confession time: I haven’t read the short story. I binged on Stephen King when I was a teenager, and then just sort of stopped and haven’t really had any urge to go back to them. Nevertheless, I’m assured that this is a cracking read, and regardless of that it has the proud boast of standing in the handful of  Stephen King adaptations that aren’t terrible alongside Stand by Me, Carrie, The Shining and Misery (before anyone says anything, I really don’t like The Green Mile).

I was pretty indifferent to The Mist on release. It just didn’t appeal to me at all. I wasn’t ignorant of it, but Ain’t It Cool News were being their usual onanistic selves over it, something that always puts me off, and I’m always wary of anything with the words “Stephen King” attached to them. However, Frank Darabont was in the directors chair, and he makes good movies and Thomas Jane (who I really like and don’t know why) was playing the lead. So I resolved to see it on DVD, and I’m glad I did.

Thomas Jane plays David. David is an artist of sorts. He lives with his family in a small Bodega Bay style community in the middle of nowhere. One night, the town is clobbered by a storm, and David has to take his son into town for repair materials. While in the shop a ghostly mist rolls in (the origins are never really explained- the film does hint that it’s the army messing around with something or other, but that’s speculation from the characters, albeit probably accurate) and the various shoppers including Toby Jones, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden and Andre Braugher are forced to repel a siege of strange beasts that live in the mist and hunger for human flesh. In the meantime, the tension in the store itself ratchets up, and divisions among the survivors come to the fore with inevitably tragic consequences.

At the heart of the division is Marcia Gay Harden’s Mrs. Carmody. Mrs. Carmody is a lunatic fundamentalist Christian, and as events begin to look more dire, her brand of rapture Christianity gradually insinuates itself into the scared group as they let their guilt and fear get the better of them, and it’s this that provides the film’s main strength. It is genuinely tense watching the group divide, and her performance is so compelling that I wonder if she has a career in televangelism ahead of her when the acting parts dry up. That Carmody is also sympathetic pays real testament to a multi-layered performance and it really was a truly fine turn from her.

It’s also a testament to some really great writing in this film. All the relationships are completely believable and furthermore utterly plausible. Take, for example, David’s contretemps with his neighbour Brent Norton. There’s a lot of history here that the film never really goes in to, but one brilliantly written scene has Jane trying to convince Braugher that there are angry killer tentacle beasts out there in the mist. Braugher, however, is having none of it- he’s been at loggerheads with Jane in the past and is absolutely certain that Jane is pulling some dickish prank on him. Which, to be fair, is remarkably more plausible than the truth. The film manages to put the whole bitter history between the two men across in the dialogue- there’s nary a bit of exposition, and more is left unsaid than explained- which is typical of the film as a whole.

Aside from that, the rest of the acting is also first-rate. Jane is particularly good, but Toby Jones provides excellent support. Even the slightest and least important characters are played by actors that can, you know, actually act rather than just scream. Take, for example, shop boy Norm. Norm is blatant cannon fodder and it isn’t a huge shock when he’s dragged under the garage door by a massive tentacle to a messy death. However, Chris Owen (better known as The Sherminator) plays the part, and gives Norm a believable air of cockiness and bravado. It’s a minor role, but it would have been very easy to cock it up.

The monsters in this film, whether they’re giant tentacle beasts or angry flying insects are excellent. They look and feel solid, and more than that they are actually scary. When the glass breaks and the killer wasps bust through the film is absolute edge-of-your-stuff and the giant beast seen at the very climax is a masterpiece of monster work. I can’t praise the effects in this film enough.

I’m going to talk a bit about the end now, so this is the spoiler warning.

I don’t like it. I think it’s unnecessary and cruel. King says now that he wishes he had finished the story the way the film ended, but I personally disagree even though it’s a real sucker punch and it is truly devastating. The actors all manage to portray the hopelessness of the situation convincingly, and when the moment comes, there is no doubt that this was the only option left to the characters. However, and this is where I disagree, the mist then rolls back and Jane is left sitting there in misery while the army comes in and cleans up. I personally think the film could do without this- the characters have been driven to their limits and the ultimate sacrifice has been made- the apocalyptic bleakness of the film is complete. When the mist recedes, however, for me it feels cheap, like a nasty trick that an oh-so-clever director has pulled on the audience and as such unnecessary. We have already seen the depths to which man can sink, and we’ve already witnessed how far one person was willing to go to spare his companions unnecessary pain, do we really need to see him wallow in misery while the army rolls in to clear things up? It just left a nasty taste in my mouth and I would have vastly preferred the film to finish with the fog still in.

Overall, and I am completely aware that my criticism of it is entirely subjective, The Mist is an excellent film. It’s truly first-rate, and regardless of any feelings about the ending that anyone has (whether you like it or not) it is more than worth a watch for some fine writing, superb acting and splendid beasts. I recommend this one heartily, and give it 3 and a half ridiculously chuffed Stephen King heads out of 4. This is an absolutely cracking film.

Until next time,

Jarv.

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About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

75 responses to “Post Millennial Trauma: The Mist (2007)”

  1. Jarv says :

    Let the argument commence…

  2. Droid says :

    Yeah I really like this movie. I think the Marcia Gay Harden character is a little OTT and the shoppers a little too quick to fall in line with her hysterical rhetoric (sacrificing the boy!?) but for the most part the character works.

    The end is a steel booted kick in the nuts, and I agree that it’s cruel and probably a little too smart ass. I think that either, as you say, the mist stays in, or they all die and then the mist rolls out to reveal the army. To have Jane left alive is a bit too mean spirited towards the character.

    But the monsters are excellent. It has a great build up, and some good scares. It’s genuinely tense and pretty gruesome in places. Good performances, good ‘less is more’ writing and great direction.

    I’d give it 3 out of 4.

    • Jarv says :

      I spent a while thinking how to phrase that about the end- to me it’s just completely gratuitous and takes the shine off the film. I honestly really dislike it, and think that as a choice it reeks of wanting to have your cake and eat it.

      I toyed with 3, but thought that was a bit mean spirited as my only real complaint about the film is the end- everything else is note perfect, even the little bits of background about MGH- in that she might be mentally ill.

  3. Tom_Bando says :

    Yeah I have liked Harden in a few things she’s been in–played a convincing Ava Gardner 20 years back in a Sinatra mini-series. Good actress. Braugher and Jane are fine too. Haven’t seen this, I know the ending-vile choice guys-and thus didn’t feel the need to sit thru it.

    Interesting beastie at the end too Jarv.

    • Jarv says :

      The monsters are all great in this film, but that’s probably the stand out.

      It’s very easy to stop the film before the end of this Bando, so you can avoid it, and I would recommend it wholeheartedly in that case.

  4. Droid says :

    Kings had some brilliant adaptations. The Shining, Carrie (I can now say is brilliant), Stand By Me, Shawshank, Misery. It’s just that he’s had a hell of a lot of shitty ones too.

    • Jarv says :

      Fuck. Missed Shawshank.

      I was actually re-editing when you were typing that, and I’ve added Stand by Me and Carrie to that list. I also missed The Dead Zone, Salem’s Lot off the list by accident as well.

      The shit ones outnumber the good ones by nearly two to one though- Dreamcatcher, It, The Tommyknockers, Pet Sematary, Pet Sematary 2, The Stand, The Green Mile, Hearts in Atlantis, 1408, Needful Things, Children of the Corn, Secret Window. All shit to a greater or lesser extent.

  5. Droid says :

    I like early King books. Growing up I read a whole bunch of them, but in the early 90’s I read one about a woman running from an abusive husband. Something about a painting she dreams she’s in or something. It was weird and crap. After that I decided that I’d only read early King.

    • Droid says :

      Found it. It’s called Rose Madder. Crap.

      Man, looking at his bibliography he was ridiculously prolific during the 80’s.

      • Droid says :

        Actually, he’s always prolific. Maybe I should develop a coke addiction. Might help me write more than one review every so often. Jarv, what are you on?

        Also, a coke addiction would only be good preparation for the Astrodykes vs Werewolves on the Moon shoot.

      • Jarv says :

        Typing speed approaching 70 wpm and utter hatred of job.

      • Jarv says :

        Of course it would. Seriously, we need to get this made. Don’t you work in Banking? Any way to embezzle say, £20m quid?

      • Droid says :

        Easy. And as the money man I will be in charge of budgeting this blockbuster.

        £10,000 – “Talent”
        £50,000 – Catering
        £600,000 – Sets and special effects
        £19,000,000 – Hookers and blow
        £340,000 – Rehab for the money man

      • Jarv says :

        I think we need a bit more for Talent. Casper and Julia Voth are bound to be cheap, so I reckon we can get away with about £10,005.

        Either that or we give away a ludicrous amount on the back end. Fuck it, lets just do that.

      • Droid says :

        Fine. I’ll just have to enter rehab a packet of smokes earlier than I’d anticipated.

      • Jarv says :

        Utter shit. It was that and Gerald’s Game that finished me off. Gerald’s Game is an atrocious bag of shit.

  6. Bartleby says :

    Good review Jarv. Will talk about the ending in the next post.

    I also liked The Stand and Green Mile. GM is a bit overly sentimental, but it mostly works for the story. It isn’t a perfect movie but it was a damn great adaptation of the original work. King wrote it serialized so it tended to be pulpier and a bit more haphazard as a result.

    The Stand had some very good performances (Jamey Sheridan in particular as Flagg) but was shot in the foot by low TV budget production values and a miscast Molly Ringwold.

    I also sort of enjoyed Hearts in Atlantis from that ‘bad’ list of yours. Doesn’t much resemble the book but I did like it.

    • Jarv says :

      I turned HiA off after about 10 minutes. Just couldn’t stand it. I also missed Apt Pupil from the good list, but on the bad list there was the whole Nightmares and Dreamscapes series that blew goat nob.

      • Droid says :

        I don’t even remember HIA. I like Apt Pupil. Man, Renfro was a great young actor. I acquired that NaD series. I’ve only watched the first episode, which was little toy soldiers attacking William Hurt, and was a bit shit.

      • Bartleby says :

        I liked that Hurt ep, although the rest were crap. The Hurt ep was actually nicely done, except for the silliness of the soldiers. Not a single line of spoken dialogue in the whole thing if I remember. Again, felt like a classic Twilight Zone.

        What happened ten minutes into HIA that caused you to do that? I’m not really clear on it myself but I dont recall it being the kind of thing you just look at and say ‘No’. Especially considering your soldiering through all 25 hours of Inland Empire. Not defending HIA persay, just curious. I’m honestly having a hard time remembering the specifics of it which suggests it wasnt all that good.

      • Jarv says :

        I honestly can’t remember- something about it rubbed me the wrong way, and I expect I was in totally the wrong mood to watch it.

  7. Tom_Bando says :

    I own IT, has a good TV cast from the 80’s-John Ritter and Harry Anderson anyone? Tim Curry too! It holds up just so-so though.

    As for sitting thru da Mist–well maybe. I’d rent it if I were so motivated. But am not currently.

    Yeah King did have his little coke-head phase didn’t he? that would figger-

  8. Bartleby says :

    SPOILERS REGARDING MIST ENDING

    Ok, that was just in case anyone made it through, hasnt seen the movie, and doesn’t want it ruined. I’ve struggled with whether or not the ending is a valid one too. Mostly, I just don’t like it, and it’s that final turn of the screw of having the military emerge from the mist that does it.

    I do have a few thoughts on why it sort of works though. This isn’t exactly my stance on it, but I can see where they were going with it.

    I imagine that the reason King wishes this was his ending is because it’s an ending at all. His story didnt have one.

    With a novella, one-off, King’s point was just the monsters. The story existed to show them off. After the big hulking beast at the end, King had nothing else he wanted to show his readers. So he just ends the short story (and probably rightfully so) with the little band still moving, getting gas when they can, and the mist still hanging heavy. The final scene though is about a testament to hope, with David Drayton hearing one word through the mass of static on the radio. He hears ‘Hartford’, suggesting there is a place the mist doesn’t extend and where radio communication still works. David ends every evening they survive whispering that word into his son’s ear. The end.

    Being that the Darabont I was familiar with up until The Mist was the Darabont of Shawshank, Green Mile and The Majestic, I was a bit surprised we didn’t have that ending here. My guess is that it’s possibly a little too close to the ending of Shawshank film with Red repeating Zihuatanejo to himself as he heads off to find Andy.

    So, given that, I think the film version has to deal with the faith issue a bit more even-handed if its not going to do that ending. There are about three approaches seen in the film:

    1) Norton just refuses to accept anything at all. He puts his trust in the rational even when it doesn’t make sense. Logic and reason don’t get him through because they have been turned on their head.

    2) Carmody puts her faith in ‘God’ but it’s really that she’s just started listening to the voices in her head that have been screaming at her all her life. The people who follow Carmody aren’t following a religious directive or putting faith in a higher power to get them through. They are putting their faith in cultish fervor. It’s misplaced and its horribly destructive.

    3) But, and this is what I think the film is getting at (if not perfectly), in survival scenarios there’s another kind of faith that may also be misplaced. Complete faith or reliance upon oneself. David doesn’t trust anyone but himself to care for his son and keep him from the monsters and the minute–the very moment– he’s gone as far as he can go, he calls it in. We might agree with him, but if King fancies the story to be about transcendent hope, then no one in this story conveys that. To show even David coming up empty at the end is hard to see, but it expresses the importance of hope in a way that’s similar but very different from the short story.

    Here’s why it isn’t satisfying. What we see with David is a man taking one for the team for love of his son and the other people in the car. He makes a selfless sacrifice–doing the unthinkable that no one else in that vehicle could have done. I’d contentedly leave it at that. But they keep going with the military aspect, and the ending feels like it was borne right out of a Twilight Zone ep or some similar moralistic thriller from the 50s or 60s. And therein, I think, is why it works.

    Droid mentioned the black and white version. In that version, the ending actually kind of does work, with him there on the ground screaming. Because it’s kind of pulpy, and on-the-nose, and exactly the kind of thing that would work in an old school monster movie. Darabont had always envisioned the film in black and white and so this probably helped him get to where they get to the in the film.

    That being said, I agree, I don’t like it. A compromise might have been to have them hear the word on the radio, prior to the car running out of gas, and then going from there. Deciding whether or not that little bit of hope is enough to risk fighting their way onward.

    • Jarv says :

      OK- but even taking point 3, I STILL think it’s unnecessary. The film could quite clearly have ended with him out of Ammo crying in the car having done the unthinkable, BUT the mist still in. The point is still that he has gone as far as he can go, and the belief in self reliance has failed.

      Which is perfectly nihilistic and a fair ending.

      What isn’t fair, and is, as Droid said a betrayal of the character, is to THEN have the mist roll back. It’s a cheap and nasty decision that leaves a sour taste in the mouth and, actually, renders a lot of what we’ve already seen pointless. Not to mention that we see some of the minor characters on the army trucks- which is just insulting.

      • Bartleby says :

        Oh yea, the minor characters. I forgot about them. That actually ties my point together. It was the gal and her kids right? The one that says screw it, and just goes out in the mist to find her children. I think the filmmakers are rewarding her somehow, and she’s like a smack in Drayton’s face. I forgot about that, and yea, it is mean spirited.

        I was just documenting that the idea of it isn’t as much the problem as the way it was handled, and I think it was handled that way because Darabont was too firmly rooted in schlocky B-movie mode at that point. You can’t have a quiety nihilistic ending like you mentioned on the end of a drive-in monster flick. So he went for something overblown. Problem is, he had some good characters we were invested in and he sold them up river for his TZ ending. He does betray Drayton at the end with that coda.

      • Jarv says :

        Yup.

        I seem to remember Koutch, Frank and Kloipy really liking that ending. I could be wrong though.

    • LBronco says :

      Well said, Bart.

      Stephen King was on fire when he wrote this story-I believe it’s his best short story that attempts Lovecraft/Cthulhu mythos.

      The others are “N.”, “The Mist” and one other.

      The American vernacular was spot on.

      That said, “The Mist” was better produced than most movie companies.

      Minor property rewritten to have a definitive end- I’m fucking amazed by the rewrite.

      King couldn’t deal with it.

      • Jarv says :

        King loves the end Bronco- I disagree.

        However, I’m hoping that the end of The Dark tower gets completely overhauled. That was a fucking atrocious way to sign off the series.

      • Jarv says :

        Also- Crouch End is the other Short Story that’s distinctly Lovecraftian.

        I fucking hate that short story for a few reasons:

        1) King has blatantly never been to Crouch End- why would you go?
        2) It’s shit
        3) It’s unoriginal shit

      • LBronco says :

        What was addressed by the Re-Writes was the epic horrors of it all.

        The point being that when faced with Suicide/Insanity, Death is a positive option.

        That sounds grim, but that’s what made HP an enduring author.

        Darabont helped King finishing a tough script.

        But not his best one.

        I shut up now.

        -lb

      • Bartleby says :

        Yea, Bronco. There’s something HP in that concept of insanity vs. death. Although, HP’s characters were usually made insane by the universe being pulled back naked to reveal more than they were ready to see. Confronted with the barbaric truth of the whole, they couldn’t deal.

        To me, you aren’t seeing gibbering insanity as much as man overcome with deep grief because he made the wrong decision. The survivor’s guilt ending could have merit but it would require Drayton either purposefully or by happenstance surviving a little longer, wandering through the Mist and actively surviving until he discovered the military and the end of the ‘thinnie’s’ reach. Then, maybe.

        I’m not the right person to answer this. I go for the more optimistic ending every time, even when dark might be the right direction.

      • LBronco says :

        Goddamit-there’s another short story/novel that was just as good.

        I’m fine, but this is going to bug me.

        My problem alone.

        -lb

      • Jarv says :

        Which one? Crouch End was in N&D.

        Give me a hint, because I’ve probably read it.

      • Jarv says :

        Best Lovecraft film that I’ve ever seen is probably In the Mouth of Madness, although not technically Lovecraft.

        I want to like Dagon, but at the end of the day, it’s shite, really shite.

        The other arguably great Lovecraft is Re-Animator.

  9. LBronco says :

    I liked this review!

    Ha! It!

    Storm drain clown was about all it had.

    That said, fan junkies notice when Stephen King got all messed up on drugs.

    Short answer: The TommyKnockers (1993?)

    Thank you Jarv.

    Epic review.

    • Jarv says :

      Cheers Bronco.

      It does make a difference when I’m not writing about garbage. Talking about which, next up is a video game adaptation, and I’m dreading the options. I may go for Final Fantasy.

      • Toadkillerdog says :

        Just could not stand the Mrs Carmody character and the whole sacrificing of a boy and people following her. Just a terrible, terrible of the writer (never read the story so i do not know if King did that as well) and the director unforgivable.

        Took me totally out of the movie, and I never felt the need to come back into it afterwards.

        I loved the monsters though.

      • Jarv says :

        Fair enough- what are your thoughts on the end?

      • koutchboom says :

        I hated the ending. It doesn’t make me hate the film, I still like the movie as a whole but that ending betrays the characters. Its also why the movie did so poorly at the box office. Nothing like making everyone leave the theater hating the movie.

      • Jarv says :

        Crikey. Who was it that liked it, then? Can you remember.

      • just pillow talk says :

        I think it was quite believable, I mean, people totally lose it at work over some stupid things. Throw in life and death situations where there’s fucking monsters, and yup, people will go off into the deep end. And I think it would be quite easy to stir up people into a frenzy, no matter how outlandish it is.

        Mob mentality.

      • Jarv says :

        Mob mentality and Hysteria leads to scary things

      • Toadkillerdog says :

        Sorry Pillow, but I do not buy it.

        I have seen people in extreme situations – war time, and I know that things occur in those situations that ordinarily would not – shocking things.

        Rape and murder and abuse and a whole host of crimes against humanity can and do occur because restraints are lifted. Sometimes in those situations the weak-willed indulge in behavior that the know is wrong but do not care because they think there are no longer any barriers to prevent them – war and extreme stress can do that.

        Sometimes those same individuals allow themselves to be led like sheep and commit atrocities for the same reason. The wonder is that it does not happen more often, not that it happens at all. I know this. But where this movie lost me is in the rapidity of the change, not in Carmody, she was a nutcase, but in her so called followers. That just does not happen – not that rapidly and not to that extreme. Human sacrifice of a child after what, just a few short hours/days? No. No. Never, and it puled me totally out of the flick.

        That is taking an extreme situation and reaction, and then booting it into orbit. Just plain bad writing and a total misunderstanding of human reactions.

        Just one example of humanity’s reaction to extremes: Cannibalism. You are starving to a certain and painful death – the most extreme circumstance of them all – and yet cannibalism – in those that have no cultural background with it, is only the very last option that most still never do. They just die. But even when it is chosen, it is only done so at the very last moment -after weeks of starving.

        Humans do not change that rapidly from baseline moral restraint to embracing abhorrence – and sacrificing a child is about as abhorrent as you can get outside or cannibalism -in such a short period of time. If it had been weeks or months, then yeah, maybe the weaker ones would have gone along, but not the way it was portrayed.

        As for the ending, it bugged me. I did not like it at all. It seemed tacked on to give the movie ‘buzz’, and to show how ‘daring’ the writer was.

      • Jarv says :

        Hang on TKD- there’s a difference between soldiers and schmucks caught in an untenable situation. There are lots of examples throughout history of mobs running riot. I think it comes down to training.

        There wouldn’t be lynchings and things if people were that noble.

        PS- Cannibalism? Well, I don’t think that is analagous. There are lots of famous examples of people that did resort to it, so it does happen.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah the crazy lady and people converting to her side didn’t really bother me that much. I agree a little with TDK in that it was a little fast, but at the same time I didn’t need to see a 5 hour movie. In fact they easily could’ve saved a lot of problems with this movie had they just added in a few time stamps. Like that final scene just say like 2 weeks later are some shit. Make it more believable that those people had been there a while.

        Thats one thing that the book ‘The Dome’ does really well. You get a good sense of time, and just how fast it takes for these people to go nuts on each other. I felt it more in ‘The Dome’, so with shit really goes down in that book you saw everything leading up to it. It wasn’t something out of left field.

      • Jarv says :

        Actually, that isn’t a bad idea.

      • just pillow talk says :

        In terms of the speed of how they lost hope..well, I definitely hear what you are saying, but when one is dealing with monsters, I think you could throw everything you know out the door so to speak.

        I think you would be dealing with entirely different fears, if that makes sense, and the irrationality of one’s behavior would be wratched up a notch in that extreme situation.

        I actually had a slight problem with that too, the first time I saw it. But after I watched it again, I decided that who the fuck knows how people would react to monsters? I mean not how the vast majority of movies portray characters reacting to monsters, but more of a realistic look I think. I don’t think it would take much to make people react in a questionable manner if there was someone to stir the pot in their mist (a-ha!).

      • just pillow talk says :

        Yeah, I agree. Could have flashed on the bottom “Day 12”, etc.

      • Toadkillerdog says :

        Jarv, there is no special training that the military gives you that can prevent someone from committing an atrocity – at least not while i was in.

        What the military relies on: is discipline. You are putting 18, 19, 20, 21 year old kids into extreme stressful situations, where all of the elements conspire against him. 1)People he does not know trying to kill him. 2) He and his buddies firing one another up with bravado to not only be able to kill another human being without thinking about it, but to mask the fear of the situation. 3) Giving him the ability and means to kill another human being.

        The only thing that prevents more servicemen from committing heinous crimes is the discipline of the unit.

        Civilians on the other hand, have no such discipline. So, you would think they would just run rampant in situations that societal barriers are broken down or extreme stress is introduced. Like an Ozzy Osbourne concert. But I digress. We are not talking about situations where people would trample one another, men, women and children because they panicked, or would steal from or kill to protect what is theirs or take what belongs to someone else.

        No, this situation where you have a charismatic leader brainwashing followers into committing perhaps the most heinous act of them all – the deliberate killing of an innocent child, and committing it in the name of a sacrifice.

        Ok, lets break this down. Since I am feeling long-winded today. Cults work because the leaders can isolate and then ‘turn’ their followers in a series of stages from their baseline beliefs into that which is aligned with the cult. It also relies on peer or group pressure to reinforce. This takes time though -especially when the end result is to do something so abhorrent as killing a child. Yes, it does happen, but not in a few hours regardless if there are monsters or aliens or whatever. Sure, one or two predisposed nutcases might, but not a group, not in such a short period of time.

        The second thing that torpedoes that part of the movie is simply this: The reason given for the killing – A sacrifice. Sacrifices are a religious artifact in some ancient cultures. A pagan belief in many. To not only change and convince a group of people in a matter of hours into killing a child, but to do so in the name of an ancient pagan belief is simply ludicrous. Think about it. You have either atheists who now suddenly believe in a higher power (plausible), but that higher power needs a sacrifice (implausible). Or, you have believers(whether active or lapsed) – lets just say of the big three, who all are taught early on to abhor pagan beliefs, but suddenly change in a matter of hours to believe killing and sacrificing a child is fine.

        Sorry, it makes no sense.

        I think the cannibalism analogy works because it presents an extreme situation where human morals are at war with certain death. That people have chosen to break the taboo reinforces my argument that no such change occurs with rapidity, because in none of the documented cases i have read has it ever been a matter of hours or days, but instead -weeks of starvation, that have pushed people to consider that extreme, and even then – more often than not, people will die before choosing that option.

  10. just pillow talk says :

    I love this movie. Simple as that. And I will say that Darabont’s ending succeeded in one aspect: it drove everyone nuts. Why? Because he successfully made you care about Thomas Jane’s character. It’s the last thing you wanted him to see. He has gone through the wringer…witnessing horrors beyond belief..losing absolutely everyone he has ever loved/cared about. He’s finished. You just want the misery to end for him there.

  11. Xiphos0311 says :

    The banging out of religion and religious themes is a staple of King’s writing it shows up in nearly everything he does it’s a personal quirk.

    In the case of The Mist though the reason it seems so forced and the conversion so fast is that the original is a short story of maybe a 100 pages all told and King usually averages like a million +.

    The ending, I like both. The book ending is ambiguous and dread filled and works the same thread of isolation and hopelessness as the movie with just a touch of hopefulness thrown in. I think it appeals to everybody becasue it speaks to the nature of the reader . You take from it what you brought to the table. If you are a cynical hopeless bastard(Jarv) you walk away with the cynical hopeless ending. If you are a happy person somewhat well adjusted(Jonah) you see hope and possibility for the characters. Albeit a narrow hope filled with a danger and a massive possibility of catastrophic failure and that’s just by driving on I-95 let alone all sorts of inter-dimensional beasties trying to eat you.

    The movie ending works since it’s a movies are a visual medium and it’s a stark and viscous way to end a movie and it is consistent with the actions of TJs character throughout the movie.

    • koutchboom says :

      Where in the movie did they say they would kill each other if felt too pushed? All leading up to the ending of the film they are all about surviving no matter what.

      • Col Tigh-Fighter says :

        I would say that it didnt need to be said.

        I know for a fact that I would strive as long as possible, and if faced with an ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY of a terrible and painful death (which at the end they believe is what awaits them), then I know I would take my own life.

        Look at the poor jumpers from the Towers on 9/11. I know I would have done the same, if I truly believed there was no way out.

        A bloody good film, and a cracking end! A proper horrible ending in a horror film. And you don’t see many of them.

  12. DocPazuzu says :

    I love The Mist. I watched the B&W version first. I agree with your assessment regarding the ending, Jarv, but I tend to let Darabont off the hook because it took real balls to make a Hollywood movie with such a shockingly bleak ending, even if it went somewhat athwart my grain.

    I, too, really like Thomas Jane even if I have a hard time making a list of his good movies. The other standout besides The Mist would probably be Stander (South African bank robber shenanigans) which is terrific.

    As for King, I started disliking his work with Insomnia which was terrible. Since then I’ve delved into his work from time to time with the only notable exclusion being the rest of the Dark Tower, which I hate. Not that it matters, since he seems bent on tying everything he’s ever written into the Roland saga.

    The only recent exception I can think of which I really enjoyed was From a Buick 8, which — ironically — everyone else seems to hate.

    • Jarv says :

      Thomas Jane also has the awesome Deep Blue Sea.

      Regarding King- I do pick them up every now and again, but swore I wouldn’t touch another Dark Tower book after Wolves of the Calla which was hideous. However, the real prize stinker is Black House. Intellectual Bikers that make their own booze and pontificate about Proust. Just. Fuck. Off.

      • DocPazuzu says :

        Yeah, I really, really hated Black House. I’m also really tired of his books climaxing with evil being defeated by mystical rays of love and super secret mental powers of retards.

      • Jarv says :

        Oh Christ. Don’t remind me- and that dates right back to Needful Things.

  13. Frank Marmöset says :

    Yep, I am one of the people who really liked the ending to this one. It’s horribly bleak, but it works for me. I saw it as a story about the terrible things people can do when they give in to fear, and having Thomas Jane see the consequences of his actions nails that point home quite nicely.

    Definitely one of the better King adaptations.

    • Frank Marmöset says :

      The Mist is also kind of the flipside to The Shawshank Redemption. Tim Robbins never gave up hope, and so he was able to reap the reward of fixing boats in Mexico with Morgan Freeman; whereas Thomas Jane gives up hope and reaps the much less pleasant reward of having to live with the consequences of what he’s done.

      That’s my take on it, anyway.

    • koutchboom says :

      Its funny because had I never seen The Walking Dead I would almost agree with that statement. But having seen The Walking Dead I know Frank likes to go for weak schock over deep study.

  14. ThereWolf says :

    Very good review, Jarv.

    I was one of the ending-likers. I like it because it slaughters me, coz I was desperate for those survivors to get out – like they did in the novella (one of my favourites) and I thought they would. But Darabont turned it around on me, I was off guard. I enjoyed the fact that I didn’t sit comfortably through the end credits.

    Maybe, maybe it should’ve stopped short of having the army show up. The one thing I didn’t like was seeing the rescued woman and her kids on the truck – that was an extra kick in the bollocks David’s character didn’t need. He didn’t need to ‘pay’ for not going with her outside, it wasn’t a wrong decision. Apart from that, it works perfectly.

    I get the feeling Darabont was pissed off about something in his life, or something he’d seen, on the TV news or whatever. Like he was tired of people and their petty shit & he wanted to lash out.

    In any case, excellent adaption & a great cast.

  15. Goregirl says :

    I fully expected to dislike this film. Stephen King film adaptations are generally poor to miserable with only a few exceptions. The Mist is actually one of those exceptions. Harden was excellent, one of the films highlights for me. I love the ending. Bleak and depressing endings are my personal favorite. I know as many people who hate this movie as love it, and it all seems to hinge on the finale. It takes some tenacity to make a mainstream film based on a Stephen King book with such a wonderfully miserable mainstream-unfriendly finale. It actually warms my wee heart.

    • Jarv says :

      Yeah it is astonishing how many mediocre to terrible adaptations there are.

      I really do like this film although I am not a fan of the end. It doesn’t take the shine off the film for me though.

  16. kloipy says :

    late to the game but I love this movie. I’ve loved the story since I was a wee lad and I even love the cheesy radioplay, but this adaptation is the best we could have gotten. darabont did a great job and my only quibble with the film are some of the effects but I know they didn’t have the budget to do much with.
    I love the ending of this film. as much as I like the books ambiguity, I love the bleak nutshot end that darabont made. I think it was perfectly logical for drayton to do what he did. I mean he did see a whole infestation of spiders pour from a man’s skin earlier in the film, and who would want that for their friends or family. and then the gutshot that he was mere minutes away from salvation goes with the tone of the movie about giving up hope. I will revist this one many times in the years to come

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