Tuesday, October 30, 2018

31 Days of Dread--Day 30

The Mist; 2007; written by Frank Darabont, based on the novel by Stephen King; directed by Frank Darabont

There are gorier movies out there than The Mist. More violent ones, too. Maybe even more terrifying. But there aren't too many with its powerful ending, one which manages to punch well below the belt and grab you by the throat at the same time.

Following a severe storm, David Drayton (played by Thomas Jane) and his young son find themselves trapped in a supermarket with several other townspeople after a strange mist envelops the store. It's soon revealed there's "something in the mist"--untold numbers of somethings, actually, with teeth and claws and wings and tentacles.

The only thing more dangerous than the Lovecraftian creatures outside the store are the increasingly desperate townspeople under siege inside it, foremost among them a local religious zealot with messianic ambitions (Marcia Gay Harden). With the fight for survival split more or less evenly between two fronts, tensions soon rise and everyone is forced to take a side. Eventually the choice to stay and die or leave and take your chances can't be put off any longer.

Shot in a roving, hand-held style, the film has at times a documentary feel that makes the conflicts and shocks that much more immediate. Darabont has said he was inspired by horror B-movies of the 1950s and '60s, and his black-and-white version (available on several versions of the DVD) is worth seeking out, especially if you've already seen it in color.

Now about that ending. Readers of this blog--and the film reviews that occasionally appear in it--may recall I have an issue with Hollywood's insistence on a happy ending. That's something The Mist doesn't suffer from. I won't say more, in case you haven't seen it. And if you have, you already know it elevates The Mist from merely good to one of the all-time greats.

The Mist is available for streaming rental.

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