So many films based upon Stephen King novels have been made over the past 30-plus years, you'd think they would have run out. In fact, they practically did run out, remaking some of them as TV movies ("The Shining," "Carrie" and "Salem's Lot," which was a TV miniseries twice). Funny then that one of Stephen King's best, a novella from 1980 called "The Mist", never did get made into a movie. I remember reading it a couple of decades ago and it was indeed excellent, but perhaps too fantastic to translate to the silver screen. At least back then.
Now, 27 years after it was published, "The Mist" finally gets the full big-budget movie treatment from the director of "The Shawshank Redemption." I cannot be enthusiastic enough about the movie that's resulted. It's the best Stephen King movie ever made, yes better than Brian De Palma's "Carrie" even, and the best horror movie in over 20 years. While I know I only just named "28 Weeks Later" best horror film in over a decade, "The Mist" is far and away the better film.
What makes the film great is the original story and Darabont's faithful and intelligent adaptation of it. Darabont has directed King before ("Shawshank Redemption," "The Green Mile"), but never a King horror novel. So his take on the story puts character development front and center, something that horror films often ignore. The performances are all top notch. This is a flawless horror movie.
The film opens with a storm in a small town community that sends a tree crashing down on the home of a local artist (Thomas Jane), kills the power and, apparently, cell phone reception as well. Kissing his wife goodbye, the artist and his young son (Nathan Gamble) go to the supermarket to pick up some supplies. A few military personnel from a nearby base also happen to be there. Then, a mist rolls into town enveloping everything outside the market. People start screaming. It becomes clear to the crowd packed in the market, including the local town Christian crazy (Marcia Gray Harden) that something in the mist is killing people. At first, they suspect the mist is some kind of chemical cloud. Then, an incident happens in the back of the store that convinces our hero otherwise.
As the hours pass, tribes develop within the crowd inside the store: At first between those that believe something supernatural is in the mist, and those that don't. And finally between those that believe in the End Times and those that simply want to survive. Gray Harden is particularly compelling as the zealot leader of the religious crowd.
As some of the characters make a trek to the pharmacy store next door in order to get medication, we are treated to some real nail-biting, creature-feature terror the likes of which we haven't seen in a horror film in a long, long time.
Like the novella, the film captures the changes people probably would go through if thrust in a situation like this, and Darabont is able to capture the essence of these characters better than any other director that has tackled a Stephen King story before. This film is even better than Kubrick's "The Shining." It's hard to underestimate just how good a movie this is.
Walking away from, you get the same feeling you had reading a great King novel. You realize that King is a genius – and Darabont had what it took to capture his vision and put it on the screen in a way no director has been able to do before.
To make a long story short, stop whatever you are doing now and see this movie.
You know, I kind of felt the same way as you did. I had always thought of Night Flier as being one of his best. After that, I had given up on Stephen King. Now you sparked my curiosity. I'll have to go see it.
Voodoo Who Do
Posted by kingfan on November 23, 2007
I don't know if this qualifies as the all time best Stephen King movie ever but it does come very close to the best. It's definitely one of his stories that deserved a movie and now it finally has one.
Posted by horrorfan on November 23, 2007
Excellent movie but not as good as "28 Weeks Later."
Posted by ManyAk on November 23, 2007
I wasn't particularly interested in this movie, but your review is great so I will probably go see it this weekend and judge by myself.
Posted by Wally on November 26, 2007
I completely agree with this review. This movie was awesome. And you'll just love the ending.
Posted by boomstick on March 27, 2008
Just finished watching the movie. It was a very good adaptation of the short story from Skeleton Crew, but I wouldn't call it a great movie. For the most part, it was exactly like the original story, but with a much better and surprising ending. Still though, while the movie was good, there's been a ton of other horror flix to come out this decade that have been better (like 28 Weeks later for ex.)
Posted by diggity on October 23, 2008
After such great reviews I thougt I had to give this movie a try and OMG it disappointed; unbelievable bad acting, although, the story was interesting. The Orphanage was one of the best horror movies in 2007. Not this piece of crap.
Posted by kiwigirl on February 5, 2009
Have just watched The Mist. It was always one of my favourite King short stories and I liked that the director stayed so loyal to the book. I thought Mrs Carmody chewed up every scene she was in - fantastic acting. Initially, I liked the ending but, in retrospect, I think I would have preferred to have King's original version where there is at least a sliver of hope, but no certainty. Still, got a few good jumps out of me and several "cover your eyes" moments. Now, if someone will only do "The Raft" and "The Long Walk", my life will be complete.
Posted by dog will hunt on February 16, 2009
wow...after the ending to this i had to watch a snuff film to cheer myself up. but yeah, this was way better than i expected and the acting was top notch from pretty much everyone. really, really bleak though.
Posted by evil child on March 2, 2009
Not a 'great" movie, but worth a watch. Characters are typical cardboard King characters, each having their place as a plot device. The ending was pretty good, but could have been better, possibly by showing some passage of time, even sitting in the truck for another 12 to 24 hours, increasing their desperation, and the feeling that there really was no other way. They seemed to make this "final" decision far too quickly.
Posted by just watched it on March 18, 2009
that's right evil child... the decision was really hasty. i wonder what was the original ending of the novel.
Posted by k+l on April 28, 2009
i think this movie wasd great! the book was great too! im a huge Stephen King Fan and i think this was one of his better movies, i loved Carrie, Salems Lot, and no body could ever forget the Shining!
Posted by lav on June 18, 2009
Are you guys kidding me? This is the worst movie. Terrible acting, ridiculously, embarrassingly bad special effects, one cliche after another. And the ending? Please. Terrible. Thomas Jane makes Keanu Reeves look like Marlon Brando. He's awful. The scene in the grocery store when the alarms are sounding, the mist is enveloping- do you really think people would be TAKING TURNS TALKING? People would be panicked, clamoring, bargaining, freaking out. The red necks, the Jesus freak- one vacant, pathetic cliche after another. This is a non-thinking person's horror movie. A movie for people who have zero sophistication or taste. Honestly, I'm offended by how bad this movie was. I think Thomas Jane's wife purposely spun herself up in that web so she wouldn't have to be in that movie any longer. The beginning- when the friggin' tree destroys his property? They have NO REACTION! Any normal home owner not on quaaludes would be freaking out. Pathetic. Honestly- I want to know how someone could buy the tentacle special effects. I was wincing, they were so horrible. If you want to see a horror film that actually matters, that actually portrays real terror and emotion, try some of the following: Diabolique, The Shining, The Vanishing, The Orphanage, Rosemary's Baby, etc. Not this awful elephant turd of a movie.
Posted by lav on June 18, 2009
I just noticed you rate this as better than "The Shining". HAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA! I am seriously laughing my ass off right now. Are you kidding me? I can't decide whether to feel really sorry for you or congratulate a retarded monkey for mastering the computer.
Posted by Tomsky on August 21, 2009
Interesting review and comments, very strong opinions. I've seen the movie a few times and like it alot. The ending is slightly overwelming and overshadows the rest of the movie. That said, I think it improves the original ending in King's novella. I would recommend the film especially if you like your horror bleak.
Posted by Monty on September 25, 2009
This movie sucked, you are an idiot.
Posted by amused on April 4, 2010
Hi guys, I have real concerns about humanity at the moment...Just watched the Mist and I believe that it is THE WORST EVER movie - Which I do not award lighty. I can't understand the number of people who thought this movie was good. Are you serious? Inanaimate objects could have done a better job of this poor excuse for film... Tentacles ok - I can deal with that. Then the giant bugs came - following which some characters sporadically set themselves on fire, then the Pteradactyals?? Alright trying to keep an open mind here, but then we have Spiders? Giant acid throwing spiders. Is not one type of monster enough?? Slightly confused here - but glad it was resolved though the explanation of the monsters coming through an opening of a window to another dimension.?? what the heck? Every character in this film was illogical and vapid -e.g we managed to see almost a whole town following and ready to kill and sacrifice children for doomsday follower Mrs Charmicle within a 48 hour timeframe, characters waving lights at the bugs to attract them, clever ey! The ending? The whiny chruch/enya style music - I'd be killing myself too by the end of that?? What the movie did achieve for me was comedy, in its total lack of sense and crazy direction, and I really can't understand anyone taking this movie on board as a serious horror! Totally perplexed . There's something in the mist ? - poo and a can of peas
Posted by Ally on April 11, 2010
So i watched this movie with a friend of mine. He really liked it... I think it sucked. Big time! I am sorry but it was not exighting att all! it was so easy to see what would happen, the actors werent really all that great, and I almost fell asleep! The only cool thing about it was the crazy christian woman and I think that the son/kid was a good actor. He was good at looking scared. And that woman really made me want to shoot her. But other thajn that it sucked! I mean, this is supposed to be a horror movie right? I was not scared at all, not even for a minute. and I hate the ending. This is not woth seeing.
But i liked the monesters, they were animated in a cool way, but some of them actually looked cute instead of freaky, and thats wrong right? :P
The ending was awefull and I was left with a bad feeling in my tummy. I cannot belive that I spent almost three hours on this movie. i wish I had turned it off and watched something eltse, cus this just sucked!
Posted by Chris on June 23, 2010
This movie was great, but the production quality was a bit low. If you didn't like this movie, then you just didn't get it.
Posted by 66cuda on July 5, 2010
Loved the short story, the movie was bad, and other good sk's adapts was dead zone, christine why they forgot about them why was frank given this and the ending give me a break, I love sad endings but killing the kid was the last straw this director and writer must be waterboarded 80 times a day for a year as well as stephen king for allowing this crap to be made, this was my first favorite story from king and the story ending was better with them driving with no posible ending that would have worked better not killing the kid I must draw the line at that, no killing kids, adults yes, stupid people even better, republicans and tea baggers the best, never kids
Posted by Haeralis on July 13, 2010
Lol at lav. This movie was great, one of the best King Adaptions ever. Thomas Jane is a top notch actor and this movie actually had heart and thought into it unlike almost every other horror movie.
Posted by Joey on June 2, 2011
I thought I had watched the wrong movie based on the reviews I read before viewing. I can't believe I actually sat through to the finish. So painfully bad it's really hard to focus a thought on any specifics. You simpletons saying that those who don't like it "don't get it" must be tripping. I felt like I was watching a spoof.
Posted by Dany on July 29, 2011
I can't believe you're not playnig with me--that was so helpful.
The mist is simply a masterpiece of a horror / scifi movie! I give it easily a 10/10! Highly recommend it!
Posted by Rob on May 26, 2012
I agre Devil Child He kinda did what he did very hastily. As a dad it would a hell of a lot harder to let my boy go like that. It just told me the director mustnot have kids, or he just give a shit enough about them to think a very bad situation through. Or wait long enough to see there's no other option. Reading the story I think King left his characters hopeful theyed find solice. This guy just felt the need to explain everything. He left almost nothing to the imagination, and that's what screwed the story up for me.
Posted by Eryx on February 11, 2013
Ere ye, ere ye!
My name says it all.
Stephen King was a massive H.P. Lovecraft fan, and if any of you SK simpletons have never read In The Walls Of Eryx -you SHOULD know that long time SK fan, Frank Darabont, knew this story.
About being 30 or so metres from the exit/passing it and losing hope.
He made that deliberate change and even Stephen King was blown away by Frank's ending.
So all you naysayers, kindly shut the fuck up!
Even your man got his back.
Check your facts.
Someone mentioned 2 dimensional characters, well, these characters are analogous and stereotypical for a reason... that reason is that they ACTUALLY exist!
Nobody moans about the supposed 'intelligent' Jock or 'moral' whore in Cabin In The Woods behaving exactly to type -while speaking out AGAINST that type.
FTR, he attempts to jump a cliff on a motorbike - intelligent?
She wants to fuck the vacuous space in his skull out - moral?
Rank this film on a '666 scale' of one to six (left to right). Based on 3352 votes.