I’m a big fan of Stephen King, but more often than not the film adaptations of his novels leave a lot to be desired…except when Frank Darabont is at the helm. Our favourite Hawaiian t-shirt wearing director has adapted a string of Stephen King novels and novellas, more often than not resulting in something quite incredible. Don’t believe me? Well, I believe The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile disagrees with you. If you are aware of how terrible the second season of The Walking Dead was, as opposed to its first season, you’ll clearly see the power of Mr. Darabont.
Today I’m going to be discussing one of my favourite horror films…one that could really easily have fallen into mediocracy under the guidance of a different director – Stephen King’s The Mist, where the monsters are not nearly as terrifying as the humans…and the monsters are pretty damn horrifying.
Set in a small town in Maine, a mysterious mist starts rolling out of the hills from the direction of a military base, completely engulfing the town and its surroundings. People were naturally unnerved at first, but when the town sirens start wailing and panicked people come running out of the mist screaming about monsters, the mood soon changes to sheer terror.
The film follows a group of people that attempt to barricade themselves inside a convenience store, which is also where most of the film takes place. While horrors and death reign outside the windows, The Mist becomes a study in fear as the terrified people in the convenience store soon start suffering from cabin fever and start turning on each other, especially after the constant preaching of a religious fanatic, played to perfection by Marcia Gay Harden.The rest of cast, then unknown, include a big chunk of the cast of The Walking Dead and also stars Thomas “The Punisher” Jane in the lead as a father who gets trapped in the store with his asthmatic son.
Whenever I watch the film, I enjoy speculating as to the nature of the mist. It is often alluded in the film that the origin of the mist is from a science experiment gone wrong in a top secret military base in the hills – with a little stretch of imagination, you can almost imagine Black Mesa sitting somewhere in the distance. Nerd alert! The nature of the creatures also have a Lovecraftian allure, with each being more terrifying than the rest. The visual effects studio that created the creatures was reportedly recommended to Darabont by Guillermo Del Toro, who used the same studio for the effects in Pan’s Labyrinth.
I can’t recommend The Mist enough – but be prepared with something a bit more light to follow it up with, as it will undoubtedly get under your skin and give you the chills. It is a benchmark for other similar horror films and very few can compare. If you’ve seen it, let me know what you think!
Last Updated: May 24, 2013