The Mist Frank Darabont

The Mist Frank Darabont
Considering four of his five feature films have been Stephen King adaptations, it’s no surprise to see Frank Darabont return to the horror novelist for his first picture since 2001’s The Majestic. Originally planned as his debut before he settled on making The Shawshank Redemption, The Mist finds the director finally bringing this foggy apocalyptic creature feature to fruition.

The day after an idyllic Maine village is ravaged by a violent thunderstorm, the townspeople flock to the local supermarket to fill up on supplies, including painter David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and his young son Billy. While checking out, Drayton, among others, notices a giant mist sweeping into the town, bringing with it nervous military officers and a hysterical man claiming he saw something drag away his friend. Locking themselves in the store, the citizens quickly discover that there are things lurking in the mist: giant tentacled creatures, oversized bugs, pterodactyls and one giant mother of a spider.

As time wears on and the body count begins to pile up after failed escape attempts and probing invasions, it’s the divide between the believers (who see this is a sign of God’s will) and the non-believers that becomes the real menace. While it’s the titular mist that preps us for the biggest scare, Darabont’s vision of King’s novella finds its most effective tension brought on by the lunacy of Marcia Gay Harden’s Mrs. Cambody (demonstrating why she has an Oscar on her mantle), an evangelical hellion who segregates the store’s occupants and feeds fear to those praying for salvation.

Far less temperate than his prior King adaptations, The Mist finds Darabont meddling with his reputation and indulging in the gore-filled warring environment the author laid out for him. While the effects don’t always maintain their fright, and there’s an overwhelming hue of b-movie disposition, the script’s high tension picks up the slack, and the cast’s strong portrayal of desperation chips in to make this an experience well worth waiting for, especially for King hounds. (Alliance)