The Second Stephen King movie in a row, The Mist tells what happens when a interdimensional mist follows a huge storm. David Drayton is a science fiction cover artist living in a remote town somewhere that’s probably Maine. He takes his son to the grocery store after a big storm to get some supplies when a mist rolls in with the people ahead of it running scared. Soon after it becomes clear that there are creatures in the mist, come from another dimension.
The Mist is a solid alien invasion horror movie. There’s a religious cult and some truly horrifying spider-like creatures and some vagina dentata tentacles and all of it set to a backdrop of human relations. The movie – even at 2 hours 6 minutes – does feel a little short and like it skims over a lot of the good stuff, meaning the creepy human interaction in favor of hitting the plot points. I hear the series has a rape subplot which means that I for one will be skipping it entirely. Too little time in the world for yet another one of those.
Marcia Gay Harden does the most amazing job as the creepy cult leader who people start turning to when her most horrible “predictions” start coming true and her character, while prominent, could have been even more utilized to creepy effect. She was magnificent. Otherwise the actors perform solidly, without being supremely memorable. Except the aliens. Because boy howdy are there some scenes that really stick with you.
Anyway, I actually like the movie, despite its many, many, many flaws (more on those below, with spoilers). I’ve never actually read the book so I don’t know how it compares.
Spoilery: the ending is a lot darker than I feel Stephen King usually gets. There’s no hope at the end of the story for our main character, even thought the world gets saved. And like I’ve said before, I like my happy endings. I want a happy ending in this one as well, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to deliver it without it feeling like a deus ex machina and unsatisfying.
Also, the main characters kid is the most annoying kid ever. It’s like the film makers remembered David had a kid only when they wanted to remind the audience that, hey, this guy’s got a family, and the kid needs his daddy to be there for him. Only they do it in the most obvious way possible that you can’t possibly miss the fact that this guy’s got a lot on his plate. And, honestly, there may be some of the author’s hand in those interactions as well. I’d have to read the book to find out. But mainly, the kid is used as a cudgel and never gets an actual character. Even the hostile neighbor gets more of a character and that mismatch is definitely the fault of the film makers.