The Mist (2007)
Wow. Arguably the very best adaptation of a Stephen King horror story (was “Misery” horror? If so, that might have been better. Maybe…MAYBE “Carrie”. But that’s all.) Director/writer Frank Darabount’s adaptation of a classic novella is nerve-wracking, gross, intelligent, heartbreaking, and genuinely frightening as few horror films are in this era of torture porn. The tale of a group of Main townies trapped in a Piggly Wiggly when a mysterious mist rolls in…concealing Lovecraftian horrors. Oh. That also makes it the best Lovecraft movie ever made, except that it isn’t based on Lovecraft. It’s really that good, concentrating on the human horrors, the breakdown of community and logic and faith. And a tale of the simple human bonds that sustain us in extremity. With excellent turns by all actors involved (including Marcia Gay Harden, Andre Braugher, a terrific Toby Jones, and a career-best performance from Thomas Jane as the artist and father trying desperately to protect his son from the crawling madness), The Mist fires on all cylinders and delivers the creepy goods. Darabount, who also directed “Shawshank Redemption” and “The Green Mile”, is so deeply on King’s wavelength it is uncanny. Almost no other director has understood how to actually generate the fear that King does at his best. By concentrating on characters and community, getting the small, mundane details right, he nails it for the third time. And the ending is simply a horror-movie classic. Serious, no b.s. way to go, Frank! An A-.
WARNING. SAMBO ALERT
I should have known: after all, Darabount did direct "The Green Mile," perhaps the most unwatchable excellent movie of my experience. There are four black male characters with dialog in "Mist." All die. Andre Brauer, while not dying first, dies second, and uselessly. Unless I wanted to extend more humanity to whites than they were evidently willing to extend to blacks, my level of empathy dropped a bit. As a result, the ending that upset many others didn’t bother me even a smattering. My coping mechanism: when I realize the filmmakers don’t care about people of my ethnicity, it diminishes my caring for theirs—in the fictional context. I can chew popcorn and giggle as they get thrown into the meat grinder.
Line 'em up.
Friday, November 23, 2007
The Mist (2007)
Posted by Steven Barnes at 9:29 PM