VIDEO: The Mist (2007)

Part One:

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Part Two:

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It’s a Friday Night Fright Flicks special presentation of Blood Splattered Adaptations! The Horror Guru compares Frank Darabont’s big screen adaptation of The Mist starring Thomas Jane and Laurie Holden to the Stephen King novella it’s based on, with passages from the book read by A Philosopher, and lots of background info about the making of the movie.

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  • Moppet

    The food chain didn’t place them at the bottom with no room to climb up, they placed themselves at the bottom. I was raised to never give up, to believe that every horrific consequence was a test to be overcome. I’d never kill my child to save them from a predator, I’d instead do everything I could to prepare them to face them inevitability, so that they might survive. This is survival. This is evolution. We didn’t start as Human Beings at the top of the food chain, we had to climb to where we are. When our bodies didn’t cut it, we went beyond our bodies.

    I’ll never claim the ending isn’t powerful, it’s very powerful and good, but to me it’s still a thing only a weak person would do. You never give up, no matter the odds. The movie validates this for me when you see the Mother from the beginning of the film on the back of that truck. She didn’t give up, and she still has her offspring. He gave up . . . and he lost everything for it, for the simple sin of not enduring the stare of the abyss. When society collapses, under any weight, it’s because people let it happen – because they give up in enough numbers that those few left trying simply don’t have the support they need. That woman, without her risking death . . . for what she held dear . . . just think about it.

    • Very passionate and truthful response. What you said about the ending is definitely true, the movie agrees with you on this. =)

    • Cody Connelly

      While I can understand your position and I pretty much agree with your view of the ending, I wouldn’t call the characters weak for making the choice they made. Throughout the movie, almost everything they tried to do failed. They had been driving through miles and miles of the mist-covered lands and saw nothing but death and destruction. So, when the jeep ran out of gas, they had no real reason to keep fighting because in their eyes, there was nothing left to fight for. Like Josh said in the video, they perceived their options as either A) Keep running and eventually be killed and devoured, or B) Remain within the jeep and eventually be found by the monsters or starve to death. So, their choice is completely understandable. If I was in that situation, I don’t know if I could have held onto any sense of hope and not come to the same conclusions as the characters.

  • Muthsarah

    Wow. WOW. Fantastic review, Josh. Granted, I haven’t read the book or seen the movie (trifle disappointed now, as it’s been spoiled an’ all), but I’m gonna plead ignorance on this one….I’ve never heard of either of them until an hour ago. S’true. I prolly should check it out anyway, I guess, though given that it could never have the impact a blind watch coulda, I’d very much appreciate knowing ahead-of-time what your next such review is, so I can get myself properly prepared for it.

    Part II, 12:11 actually made me half-jump. That’s rare, especially as I wasn’t exactly watching the movie itself and thus wasn’t invested in the characters or events. I LOVE how you describe Darabont’s approach to this production. I hope I wasn’t the only one thinking John Carpenter at that moment; maybe it’s not especially apropos, but he’s one of the few filmmakers I know (and love) that could fit his description of a desperate, improv’d, damn-near-Damoclesian production. He should be commended for his gutsy effort, though I wonder how much of that really showed up on-screen. $18 million is still a good chuck of change, and with all the visual effects, I suspect this production couldn’t have had the fly-by-pants nature of all those great guerilla productions of yesteryear, where the screenplay is jettisoned early and everyone, from actor to director to grip just makes things up as they go along, because there’s no alternative; the ultimate romanticized production.

    Based on my own very limited (but much improved) familiarity with these stories, I do agree that the movie’s ending is fantastic. I wonder how anyone could feel otherwise, unless they just love vagueness. Personally, I love bittersweet. Main character survives, but he (mercifully) kills his son and others. If only. Not a happy ending, but not 100% horrible either….though it kinda is. Survivor’s guilt is the least of his problems now. Disturbing, but complex. That’s a good way to go out too. If I knew’a more movies like that, I’d prolly be a bigger horror fan than I am. Hint hint.

    • Yay thank you for your kind words! =)

      I’m sorry for spoiling the movie for you, one of the things I pondered doing for the Adaptations episodes was place SPOILER WARNINGS at the front end but I got so many responses from people who hadn’t seen the movies or read the books that were telling me these videos made them want to seek them out. So I became torn on the issue. =P

      You’ve got a good point, 18 million IS a good chunk of changed when compared to many recent Indie productions. It’s definitely nowhere near the 15 thousand spent on Paranormal Activity, for example. And Visual effects by necessity do require you to be far more prepared going into a shoot than normal. You’re right. =)

      • Muthsarah

        Oh, I knew I was gonna be spoiled. I assume that with every review. But if I haven’t even heard of a movie, better to be spoiled and intrigued than be left in the dark entirely. Since I’ve never had much exposure to horror films, I gotta get in somehow.

      • Cristiona

        I normally don’t care about spoilers (it’s the journey not the desitination; 99% of movies are “spoiled” if you think about them too hard before seeing), I can see why this one gave you pause, even though it’s six years old now. This is one of those movies where the shock/twist ending -is- the movie. Pretty much everything’s there just to hang the ending on.

    • $36060516

      “I suspect this production couldn’t have had the fly-by-pants nature of all those great guerilla productions of yesteryear, where the screenplay is jettisoned early and everyone, from actor to director to grip just makes things up as they go along, because there’s no alternative; the ultimate romanticized production.”

      Darabont wouldn’t have taken that kind of loose approach, whatever the budget, because one of his main goals is to be faithful to Stephen King (despite having to make changes to make it work as a movie)!

  • MephLord

    This is a movie that I still have mixed feelings about. On the one hand, I remember reading the short story and being captivated by it (much like another King novella, the Langoliers), and just wondering how it would end and just finding King isn’t very good at ending his books. Although baptized Catholic I don’t go to Church but I was familiar enough with the Catholic mythology (yes I call it a mythology not a religion; in fact I call all religions mythology) to recognize that the story implied that Demon Locusts had invaded the Earth, and in Revelations the appearance of Locusts signified the end of Humanity and the second arrival of Jesus Christ.

    So based on that metric, I just felt the movie lacked a bit of purity since both the novella and the movie played up the Revelations aspect with a Fire and Brimstone Doomspeaker chanting and when she finally got punched in the face, it seemed to validate that no one wanted to listen to her, yet her message had no meaning, so it was an interesting bit of validation for an argument that was unfounded. The movie ultimately implied that Revelations simply won’t happen and it’s all our own fear and doubts that cause people to go insane and look to a higher power for guidance without doing anything themselves.

    My argument is probably a bit broken here, and the movie covers a fair bit of territory in exploring Judeo-Christian beliefs, prophecies and religious disconnects, but it seemed as if the movie went to the well on the Revelations side of things and ultimately pulled back. The first time I saw the movie I rolled my eyes at how over the top it got but upon a second viewing I appreciated more the subtlety of the narrative, and while like you I liked the ending, the appearance of actually biblical creatures was a bit of a deal breaker for me. You can’t introduce Biblical mythological creatures and not follow up on it. Since it was never really implied that it was a hoax or an alien invasion, but an actual Biblical story re-imagined for a modern audience, I was left a bit cold by the overall ending. But that’s just my personal opinion. As a Fire and Brimstone grim story without knowing anything about possible source material it’s easily a good, if not great thriller movie with some gory content.

    • Guest

      In my opinion, the movie actually tackles

    • cr0wgrrl

      Sorry for the glitched half-response below >.<

      In my opinion, the movie is tackling an entirely different religious than Revelations. While it does dangle the fear of the apocalypse, IMHO what the movie version of The Mist is actually focusing on, underneath the horror and the awesome tentacle monsters, is the difference between false and true faith.

      Only one family in the movie has a happy ending — the woman who trusts and walks out because she has to do what she has to do. She is the only character in the movie who ultimately exhibits true faith — and she and her family are reunited and rescued. Despite her fear, she has faith and does the right thing — returning to those whom she is charged with protecting.

      In contrast, the antagonist is an entirely false prophet passing her own twisted beliefs off as the word of a higher power. The people in the market allow their fear to cloud their judgement; the person no one believed before becomes a false religious messiah… again because they lack faith.

      In fact, the movie makes it clear that the monsters are not Biblical, to me — witness the speech by the soldier. This isn't God's retribution, despite what the antagonist says — this is science mucking with things it shouldn't have and rending a tear between dimensions. The fact that the people in the market hear this and STILL listen to the antagonist's twisted religion makes their lack of faith more egregious (and their implied death in the market more deserved).

      And finally, the protagonists… who listen to reason, but give in to doubt and fear at the end. So close to literal salvation… and there he is in fact, punished to see what he could have had if he had held on and believed a little more.

      When The Mist hit the theaters, there were tons of predictable protests against what was seen as an anti-Christian message, which made me a little sad even though I am not a Christian. With a little thought and analysis, it seems like there is a much more interesting message underneath about what it means to have faith and stay true to those beliefs.

      • Cristiona

        I think the complaints were more that it was another go around with King using religion as a straw-filled punching bag. The only person with a professed faith is an evil charicature.
        Frankly, it’s not so much offensive as old and tired.

        • As long as religion itself continues to be at odds with the modern world, it will never be old and tired. At least, in my opinion anyway.

          • Cristiona

            There’s a gulf of difference between pointed commentary and ridiculous caricature.

          • The problem with religion is the ridiculous caricatures are rarely far off from the mark. It’s why it’s near impossible to parody, because the parody often sounds identical to the reality. No one will be able to tell you’re joking.

          • DavidWilmotLow

            what a marvelously bigoted thing to say.

          • I’m sorry if I offended you, David. I assure you that was not my intention. To be clear, my issues are with Religion as a concept, not necessarily everyone who practices them. I’ve met quite a few decent folk who identify as such. =)

          • $36060516

            Josh, you might enjoy this documentary about anthropologist Ernest Becker’s theory that religious belief’s consolation of mankind’s fundamental fear of death is the source of great violence (such as that portrayed in The Mist) because basing one’s psychological well-being on the belief in the immortality granted by a specific deity often leads to violence against those who threaten that belief through their lack of faith (or choice of another faith):

          • That sounds fascinating! I’ll have to give it a watch. =) Thank you.

          • Cristiona

            Oh, please.

            Did you just discover Richard Dawkins or something? Or is this an attempt to be edgy?

            Or are you actually so isolated from the real world that you actually believe this tripe?

          • Huh? I’ve heard the name Richard Dawkin’s before, but I can’t say I know anything about him and I assure you I don’t have any desire to be edgy. I’m expressing my sincere opinion as someone who grew up in an oppressively religious household and spent far too much time around the type you refer to as “ridiculous caricatures.”

            Your dismissing reaction is definitely baffling, but it’s got me curious as to why you’re reacting that way? =)

        • Nine Breaker

          I don’t know. The Stand’s Mother Abigail wasn’t evil (yeah, I know not the same thing. But I don’t see King as being anti-religion) Here, at least to me it showcases blind faith and irrational fear. At the end of the movie, even the protagonists succumb to it.

          Seeing this makes me wonder how people will react when Rapture-Palooza is released (a movie I’ve been curious about for some time. Maybe it’s the fact that Craig Robinson as the anti-christ seems strangely hilarious)

  • Alexa

    I have to say that Frank Darabont is pretty underrated in many respects. I think all of his movies are really well made, even if the source material wasn’t all that great, as is with The Green Mile ( my least favorite of his, but it still had good moments and Sam Rockwell was great). Even The Majestic I remember liking, even though the critics tore it to shreds, which I thought was weird since it was a pretty innocent and well acted movie. Even this movie had critics wagging their tongue negatively, which makes me scratch my head and ask whether all the writers who did the reviews were in bad moods that week, or something.

    • Agreed, Alexa. By and large I’ve been quite pleased with Darabont’s output. =)

  • $36060516

    I love this series, because digging into the mechanics of how a story is told and debating the choices is one of my favorite things to do and to appreciate, and you do it well. The readings of excerpts from the stories are well done as well.

    It wouldn’t have fit in with this review at all, but there’s actually another adaptation of the story!

    • I was totally unaware of this! Great find, good sir. =)

  • $36060516

    I forgot to mention that I hadn’t seen this movie for many years and I wasn’t expecting how much it looked like an episode of “The Walking Dead” with several of the actors, the camerawork, and the story beginning with a father and son separated from the mother of the family, making it seem like a lost episode of the show. (Although the intended black and white look in the special edition kicked up the visuals another notch and gave it its own visual style.)

  • John Wilson

    The ending to me seem silly. I think it would have been better if they were going get rid of charators. Then do it slowly during the movie. Have one person go,then the next etc. And maybe have the main guy slowly lose his faith. And maybe regain it at the end:).

  • Fishes

    You missed an update. Is it a reviewer holiday I didn’t know about, or did something come up? Are you guys okay?

    • The Horror Guru

      Hahaha, Jack and I have spent this last month focusing on our individual shows due to there not being many horror releases this month. =)

  • William

    Just watched this. Good analysis and to me The Mist was the most brilliant horror film I’ve seen in recent years. But there was one huge point/irony that was missed. It’s that Mrs. Carmody could have been right all along. As soon as the “Child” and the “Whore” were sacrificed, the mist lifted. This adds another layer of brilliance

  • DeanD

    I really enjoyed The Mist but there were two things that kept me from loving it: Marcia Gay Harden’s performance (though not the character) and what felt like an off color palate. I wish I had known about the black and white version before because that would’ve completely taken care of that issue and most likely would’ve enhanced the overall atmosphere. This was a great review! And the ending of the film is one of my favorites not only of horror but of any genre. Darabant outdid himself!

  • Funky Dynamite

    I’ve been thinking about getting back into King’s works for a while, but this review really made me want to read this stuff again. Also, I never knew Darabont was so freaking awesome. Darn you for making me search out Skeleton Crew! I was going to save my sheckels for the uncut version of The Stand!