The Mist - A Delayed Review
Frank Darabont... what in the name of all that is holy were you thinking?
You too Stephen King. Don't give me that look. I know this was originally just a novella, but how could you? Do you not realize what you have created?
Yeah, the movie has a couple things really going for it. First, there are monsters. Specifically giant monsters. And they have completely surrounded a small town grocery store. So in concept, it's like War of the Worlds meets Dawn of the Dead.
But listen, The Mist is quite simply a terrible movie.
In fact there is little here to justify it for even existing. Very little.
As a character study, it's a mess. Pretty much all I've learned about the human condition is that small towns are filled with d-bags. And when I say d-bags, I mean douche-bags. Everyone hates everyone else, usually without a valid reason, and if there is a valid reason they won't listen or acknowledge it. When they do, it is often inexplicable. Characters at the very beginning immediately recognize the Mist as "death," once they hear someone outside scream, but minutes later they doubt any harmful threat even as they stare directly at a pool of blood under a severed tentacle claw.
Theologically, it's a confused and terribly awkward jumble of ideologies. Almost to the point that it's not worth mentioning. On the one hand it openly demonstrates the futility in saving those that will not listen to truth or reason. On the other, it condemns those that preach it. It seems to be an allegory against organized religion, but also a reaffirmation of slightly less organized, but more open minded religions. I really don't know where I'm going with this, but basically I'm saying I walked out of the Mist more confused than when I entered it.
But who cares, there are monsters...
Unrealistic and poorly executed monsters that seem to be mildly more retarded than the slow and dimwitted towns people they hunger for.
When the first tentacle beast shows up, it is laughably awful. Led up to by a series of exchanges summarized as:
"You shouldn't open that door."
"We're going to open that door."
"Wait. Don't. I'm fairly certain there's a monster behind that door."
"I'm going to open that door and you're going to damn well enjoy it."
"No, don't. I'm almost definitely certain there's a monster behind that door."
"How do you know there's a monster behind that door?"
"Because I saw it."
"I'm going to open that door."
The movie is basically two hours of this. Problem is, once they open that door, the thing on the other side is awkward and unconvincing.
I honestly don't think I've laughed much harder, especially after watching someone (in the midst of a giant locust attack) fail so miserably to light a broom on fire, get distracted, and proceed to light themselves on fire.
It's not supposed to be funny, but somehow, it just was. It really just was.
I wish the Mist was just like Slither, a film which charmingly fulfilled the horror genre with spectacle, humor, and genuinely great characters.
The problem here is that the Mist is based on a short story by Stephen King and written for the screen by Frank Darabont, who brought you the Green Mile and the Shawshank Redemption.
Unfortunately they both wanted this mess to mean something.
I had heard the ending to the Mist was, in the words of one reviewer, "f****d up." I admit, that was part of my reason for renting it.
So keep in mind I did audibly say, "No, they're not going to do that." Not in shock or excitement, but disgust at the cheap ending these guys were about to throw at me. Well they did. And I felt used.