This is yet another great from the great Stephen King. It has a wealth of future and current actors in it. This is a wonderful paradigm of what happens when people are forced to work together with one person who is intent on bringing the spotlight onto themselves no matter what. The Mist also explores what might happen when people are desperate and fear for their very lives. It's a great movie in my humble opinion, very well done, and very well acted. Watch this movie and I promise you will never look at the fog/mist the same again. So, the next time the fog/mist rolls into where you are, be careful what's in it because one never knows now does one?
so let me start by saying I read the short story back in the early 90's and loved it. The general unknown of what caused the event, the nearly claustrophobic nature of being trapped like that and almost none of the "monsters" having all-encompassing details was great. The characters were well-formed and made me care about them in this impossible situation. This is of course a long-held memory... I watched the movie only this year. (2016)
This movie achieves some of that...
The good: I cared about the characters and was with them in some of the more tense moments. It had obligatory jump moments and enough thrills that it was worth watching for the general fear about it. I'm also going to mention the "end" here as a positive, even though I have it in much detail in the bad below... how is that you may ask? Because while I do not like the ending at all, for reasons below, I do think it was shocking enough that people would talk about it for years to come after seeing it. In that regard, it's probably a success thing... read on to see why I ultimately don't like it.
The bad: the claustrophobia was almost completely absent. Perhaps it's the way the setting was filmed/framed? It just did not have this "closed in" feeling that the story did. (My memory of the story anyway) The store somehow felt bigger than the story made it feel.. I don't know, that may be nit-picky. The fear created in the story was also there, as mentioned in the good above, but it is largely overshadowed by the nihilistic, hopeless way they ended it. The story ended with an impossible hope, but it was still a thread of hope. It had questions that were never answered. In a bid to tie things up neatly, the ending (to me) just sucked the life out of all the stress (Fear and tension is only there when there is a hope...) and left this bitter taste that wrecked the heart of the characters that I cared about. It really reversed the hope those final characters were walking in. I hesitate to call it Godless, as it's not a Christian movie at all... but the way one of the characters (mis)represents God so much early on, demanding blood from them, the lack of any counter-point to that anti-Christ stand was obvious, but to end it the way they did (which was not how the story ended) pretty much validated this anti-God tone. The story was a more even-handed approach to how we need hope to keep going and how that hope is the opposite of what those zealots were walking in.
Overall, the movie is worth watching. Nothing I've said here should stop that. The ending is certainly controversial, as any google search will show you... some of you may love that shock. For this movie, I was not one of those that liked that smack to the face. King himself (I believe) loved the new ending, so there is that as well. Take it for what it's worth, it's still a decent thriller movie to see.
I have not always enjoyed King's work on the screen. Sometimes it's the acting, sometimes it's the screenplay writing, and sometimes the story itself just doesn't translate well into flesh-and-blood. This one, however--it's haunting. I have watched it at least a dozen times over the last couple of years, and I've noticed something new every time. The story is interesting, the effects are decent enough that they don't break the immersion, and the writing is really solid.
It is not the monsters or the setting that make this so chilling and gripping--as usual, it is the characters. Often King has written characters that are so grotesque (I use that word meaning the older definition, not the current meaning "gross") that I have had a hard time engaging with them. These, however--in all of them you can see either yourself, or someone you know. The acting is honestly really quite good, and the combination of acting, writing and characterisation produces something really quite remarkable. Take away the eldritch horrors in the mist, and you have a story about what happens to people who are otherwise normal, good-ish, regular people when they are pushed to the extremes of fear. The movie demands of the viewer: what would you choose, really? What part do you play? Even the antagonistic doom-sayer has things about her with which one might sympathise (at least right towards the beginning. After that, she's a little too unhinged and malicious for me to have much sympathy for her).
This IS quite a violent film, and there are images in it which sensitive or young viewers might find haunting their nightmares later, so make sure that all the kiddies are tucked away before you throw this one up on the screen. It's definitely worth a watch.
Mild spoiler: The thing that transfixes me every time is the massive monster that we see right at the very end. It's so very, very large, so unthinkably massive.
One of the top horror movies of the 21st century, and certainly one of the best movies to be based on a Stephen King story. It's like a combination of "The Birds" and "From Beyond." This is a giant monster movie, but is also much more in the human drama. The situation is forced at points, but the acting is good. Marcia Gay Harden is excellent as the doomsday holy roller who spouts Revelation willy nilly. There's several cast members from "The Walking Dead" featured, and it's nice to see them in a slightly different setting -- still terribly creepy. At first, it seems like a typical Aliens-type movie where people keep getting picked off one by one in gory ways. But then it turns to make some points about humans needing to make decisions, and in doing so, they do not really knowing where the future is going to take them or if their decisions are going to work out -- the future is shrouded in Mist. The ending, really... just watch it if you appreciate genuine horror movies. The visual effects are acceptable. Some better than others. The story is actually better when you DO NOT see much of the creepy things in the Mist. Good job cast and crew.