I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not always the most open minded horror fan. I tend to gravitate to a select variety of subgenres, and as a result, close myself off to a lot of quality horror offerings. That’s why it took me so long (almost 9 years) to finally watch The Mist.
Despite my horror prejudices, I sat down with the Mrs. on Saturday night and went on an adventure through The Mist. The film opened my mind up to a subgenre I hadn’t really given a chance in the past and made for a surprisingly suspenseful viewing experience.
Here are 5 reasons to watch The Mist:
1. It’s based off the writing of Stephen King.
Proclaiming the brilliance of Stephen King’s stories is like saying John Carpenter is a great horror filmmaker. We all get it. Having written 54 novels and hundreds of short stories, there’s no question that King is the most prolific writer of contemporary horror literature. Like every other horror fan under the sun, I’ve been a huge fan of Carrie and The Shining ever since I first got my prepubescent hands on them. I’m not sure why it took me so long to realize that when it comes from the mind of King, it’s worth paying attention. This alone is reason enough to watch The Mist.
2. It’s directed by Frank Darabont.
If you like The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, or The Walking Dead, then you’re familiar with the obviously talented Frank Darabont. This man is clearly a big Stephen King fan, and masterfully brings his stories to the screen for our viewing pleasure. King has publicly frowned upon other filmmaker’s interpretations of his work, but these two dudes mix well together. Darabont gives subtle nods to King’s influence throughout the film (King’s pharmacy, a rack of Stephen King novels in the supermarket) and showcases his respect and appreciation for the source material and its creator.
3. The cast.
The ensemble is packed with a cast of characters you grow to love, root for, and sometimes, hate. We meet all of these characters before the mist rolls in, so we see them evolve as the situation becomes progressively worse and their social courtesies are dropped.
We’ve been fans of Thomas Jane since Boogie Nights and loved his turn as the shark-fighting hero in Deep Blue Sea, so it’s no surprised we enjoyed him as the movie poster-painting protagonist in this as well.
Marcia Gay Harden plays the bible-thumping Mrs. Carmody with such conviction I found myself wondering, “Is this crazy woman right? Is what she’s saying actually the only thing that’s going to save these people??” We also get a good dose of familiar faces from The Walking Dead, long before it was the popular television series it is today. Dead alumni include Jeffrey DeMunn, Melissa McBride, Juan Gabriel Pareja, and Laurie Holden. Rounding out the cast are veteran actors Frances Sternhagen and William Sadler (who also appeared in Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile).
4. The threat.
For those who haven’t seen it yet, I won’t spoil what’s waiting out in the mist. What’s out there is scary, but the larger danger comes from inside the supermarket where our cast is seemingly sheltered. The scariest monsters are the ones that hide within us. The biggest threat comes from those around us and how we deal with crisis under pressure. In this way, the film deals with overarching social and cultural issues that plague humanity. At its heart, The Mist illustrates the consequences of forgetting basic human decency in the face of extreme obstacles.
“Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.”
-Stephen King, introduction to The Shining
5. The Ending.
Darabont’s adaptation remains faithful to King’s novella, but he changed the ending for the film. Darbont was so passionate to keep this new ending that he only agreed to make the The Mist with Dimension Films if they agreed to keep his ending intact. Dimension agreed, and it worked. King praised the ending. At a press conference promoting the film in 2007, King said: “Frank wrote a new ending that I loved. It is the most shocking ending ever, and there should be a law passed stating that anybody who reveals the last 5 minutes of this film should be hung from their neck until dead.”
Those are strong words, but I have to agree. I was shocked by the ending. I applaud the studio for allowing it (even if they didn’t have much of a choice). It definitely hits hard and forces you to reflect on what you’d do if you were in the same situation.
If you still haven’t seen The Mist, I’d definitely recommend you add it to your watchlist.
Trying my hardest to avoid saying The Mist is one not to be missed…
Have you seen The Mist? Leave your thoughts and opinions with us below!
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