Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Movie Review: The Mist

After being trapped in their local grocery store, the citizens of Bridgton, Maine must band together to combat the nefarious aberrations dwelling within “the mist.”  Its origins unknown, its inhabitants the elements of nightmare, to enter the hazy madness that has besieged this small New England town is suicide.  However, its unfortunate survivors will soon find themselves pitted against horrors far greater than anything of dreams.  Thus is the plot of Frank Darabont’s The Mist.

First off, I must concede that I’m a pretty big Stephen King junky.   He hooked me in with Desperation in 1996 and utterly floored me with his magnum opus, The Dark Tower series in the years thereafter.  For all of King’s breathtaking works to date, however, only a small handful of them have been adequately adapted to the screen.  Over the years, attempts to convert the so-called master of horror’s visions to film have (for the most part) culminated in a procession of sorry, uninspired miniseries and made-for-T.V. movies.

In the fall of 2007, this all but gapless onslaught of banality was mercifully severed with the release of Darabont’s The Mist (adapted from King’s 1980 novella of the same name).  The same man who helmed the critically acclaimed Shawshank Redemption (1994) and Green Mile (2000), finally brought to horror fans what they had been in such desperate need of:  a respectable, King-inspired addition to horror films.

Darabont conveys a most splendid B-movie atmosphere throughout the film, harkening back to 1960s cinema, the glory days of sci-fi horror.  The cinematography and lighting are both absolutely spellbinding and merited Oscar recognition.  The script, though a tad cheesy here and there, is for the most part solid and the acting is quality from every cast member (save perhaps the redheaded grocery clerk toward the beginning).  Thomas Jane nails his starring role as the overmatched everyman thrust into a nightmare and Marcia Gay Harden is fantastic as the bible-thumping zealot threatening the sanity of all trapped in the store.

The lights are out, the law is dead, and the world has fallen away.  We are left only to watch, dismayed as the “civility” of man is stripped off piece by piece and the horrors of the human psyche laid bare for all to see.  Suspenseful, disturbing, and provocative, The Mist is a flat out must see for horror fans of all kinds.

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