Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Mist (2007)(Minor Spoilers Review)

**This review contains MINOR spoilers, no major twists, big reveals, or character deaths**

After the Drayton family survives a fierce and devastating thunderstorm, David (Thomas Jane) takes his young son, Billy (Nathan Gamble) to the local supermarket to buy supplies and food. David leaves his wife, Steff (Kelly Collins Lintz) at the house to sort through the mess, and David prepares himself for a tense confrontation with his rival next neighbor, Brent Norton (Andre Braugher), a pompous New York lawyer, who continues to hold a grudge against David for property damages. But David is willing to ignore any bitter feelings, and he allows Norton to tag along for the ride to the supermarket.

At the supermarket, a harmless day of shopping turns into a chaotic fight for survival, when a bloodied Dan Miller (Jeffery DeMunn) runs through the front doors. Dan warns everyone about a malicious threat within the oncoming thick cloud of mist. In the receiving area of the supermarket, David, Myron (David Jensen), Jim (William Sadler), and a bag boy named Norm (Chris Owen), investigate a problem with the supermarket’s generator. Here, the group discovers a deadly monster.

David urges everyone to remain calm with some support from local residents. Amanda (Laurie Holden), Dan, Irene (Frances Sternhagen), and the supermarket’s assistant manager, Ollie (Toby Jones) join David in his fight to maintain civility and peace, but panic complicates the situation, when different species of monsters from the mist threaten the survivors. As the self-proclaimed prophet,  Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden)  uses her influence over those, who choose to follow her as a deadly weapon, so David and the others are forced to work on an exit strategy before it’s too late.

After a close call from an attacking group of monsters, David pushes Private Wayne Jessup (Samuel Witwer) to reveal the hidden details behind the mist and the monsters. David believes Private Jessup is apart of a botched military experiment, and the failed experiment unleashed the monsters. But Private Jessup is more concerned with fixing a failed relationship with Sally (Alexa Davalos), Billy‘s babysitter, and Sally works as a cashier at the supermarket, and a barrage of problems complicate the life-or-death dilemma. Ollie doesn’t receive the necessary support from Bud (Robert Treveiler), the store manager, David’s rivalry with Norton resurfaces, and a woman (Melissa McBride) with two children at home begs for an escort through the mist.

With their backs against the wall, David and his group are restricted to two unsavory choices. For the first choice, David and his group can stay inside the supermarket, with the hopes of outlasting the disaster, while taking some very slim chances on evading Mrs. Carmody’s wrath. The second choice? David can take a deadly chance to save Billy and reunite with his wife, but he needs his car in the parking lot. Will David risk everything to save Billy?

Thomas Jane is a competent leading man, and The Mist features an overall solid cast, but Marcia Gay Harden delivers the best performance here. Mrs. Carmody is a self-righteous and delusional nutcase. Harden pulls everything together with an eccentric and kooky performance, and Harden brings a believable nasty side to Mrs. Carmody. There’s a scene where Amanda catches Mrs. Carmody in the bathroom, and she’s praying for help, so Amanda reaches out to her as a friend. Mrs. Carmody’s cold response? “When I need friend like you, I’ll be sure to s*** one out.”

The Mist tugs on the viewer's “What would you do?” thought process. At first, you get the impression the survivors will constantly dismiss Mrs. Carmody as an annoying loon, but things change as the story progresses. After a series of attacks from the monsters, certain survivors are noticeably petrified. They fear for their lives, so they need someone to believe in. Enter Mrs. Carmody. Mrs. Carmody slowly convinces her followers to believe in divine intervention, because they’re looking for answers. They’re looking for anything to ease the pain, or calm their fears.

There’s a scene, where Ollie goes into an explanation about Carmody’s followers. Ollie says if you can scare people enough, they’ll believe in anything to make the boogeyman go away. The “Do you believe?” arguments provide some good food for thought. Considering the bizarre and deadly situation, you can understand the perspectives from different characters. When it comes to Carmody’s supporters, you can understand the need for them to trust and follow every word from their protector. On the flip side, you can understand the motivations for David’s constant pleas for peace. He’s just a father, who wants to protect his son, and ensure the safety of EVERYONE in the supermarket, because Mrs. Carmody handpicks the condemned and those worthy of survival.

The Mist is an eerie and frightening sci-fi/horror film, with a malevolent sense of wonder. There’s enough bloody gore, and disgusting gruesomeness to pull a reaction out of you, and The Mist delivers a hard gut punch with one of the most shocking and devastating finales you’ll ever see. Strap yourselves in for a mysterious, haunting, and bloody ride, because The Mist is an engrossing film, and it‘s one of the rare Stephen King adaptations that’s worthy of remembrance.

Rating: 8/10

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