Tuesday, May 6

Useless Movie Review: The Mist

The reason I don't do reviews too often is simple; by the time I get to see a movie or read books/comics, everyone has already been there/done that.

Still, I just watched The Mist and thought I'd share my thoughts.

First of all, I loved the cast. Good or bad, Stephen King movies always seem to have the best supporting casts; with many great character actors appearing again and again. This film is no exception; Frances Sternhagan, Jeffrey DeMunn and William Sadler are all veterans of other King films and give their usual excellent performances. A new face in the crowd, Toby Jones (as Ollie Weeks) was also a standout.

The name players all did adequate jobs, although I thought Marcia Gay Harden's crazy-religious-zealot role seemed too one-note for me. I don't remember Mrs. Carmody quite so religious in the book; she just seemed to be your town crackpot with a bit of religion thrown in. Andre Braugher was completely wasted but did well with what he was given. The young man playing Thomas Jane's son was refreshing in that he didn't overplay his role; he offered a realistic bit of shock and bawl that didn't become annoying.

The movie itself lived up to my long wait and was frightening in spite of some rather hit-or-miss special-effects. I was pleased that King's obligatory sex scene was deleted from the film as it added nothing to the plot. Two minor characters made out a bit but the scene was thankfully brief. The film is basically a 50's style horror movie about government screw-ups getting us killed. The film follows that story-line all the way to the end (Although, in the movie, the shoppers that fall under Carmody's spell seem far scarier and more savage than the monsters.) and then takes a shocking too-quick turn to very dark horror.
I think I could justify it if there had been more time spent after they left the supermarket; the fateful decision seems to come too easy without more time out in the mist. I know that he made a promise to his son, but I'd like to think he'd try harder to avoid the decision. I'm still not sure about the ending; on one hand, it is far darker than the original ending; but on the other, it truly makes it a film that will stick with the viewer for a bit... not in a good way.

All in all, I think it is a great little horror film and might even buy it for the film library.


MJ Norton said...

I saw it opening weekend and never got around to writing a review for it. The starkest outline of a review I had in mind for it boiled down to this: The movie is roughly 2 hours and 6 minutes long, and I pretty much enjoyed the first 2 hours. The ending left me cold, not even so much the decision the lead made in the face of seeming hopelessness, but that it was followed by the military marching in and coming out on top -- presumably sealing the rift and hunting down the extradimensional intruders.

I much preferred the story's original ending, with a small group of survivors painstakingly picking their way through the mist from shelter/refueling spot to the next, trying to make their way to what could be a beacon of hope or just a trick of the mind in the static on the radio.

Tammy said...

I'm with you on this one, Mike...and Mark, I guess. Toby Jones was DEFINITELY a stand out and did an amazing job as Ollie Weeks. Overall the rest was fairly true to the book (which I also loved)...until the end.

I agree that the rush to finish it was wrong, wrong, wrong! I didn't expect the book ending...not Hollywood enough to suit the studios...but it could have worked, had they made it last a little longer...thrown in a little more imminent danger...and left out the army coming in to clean up the mess. Especially when they show the mom and kids that made it. The bow on the wrapping made it too much for me.

I read a review where Stephen King said he liked the movie ending better and, had he thought of it at the time, would have eagerly used it himself. I'm, personally, glad he did what he did.

Mark said...

I am getting so old; I forgot that it was Toby Jones who played Truman Capote in Infamous. He was fantastic and out-Capote'd Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

You can bet I won't be forgetting him again. He's going to go on my actors to watch for mental list.