THe misT

WTF? We don’t have the fog­gi­est...

SFX - - Reviews -

It seems to be the sea­son for adapt­ing Stephen King but then go­ing your own sweet way – and it’s ques­tion­able whether The Mist makes a bet­ter fist of it than The Dark Tower.

Ini­tially, pac­ing’s the prob­lem. Af­ter the town of Bridgeville is en­veloped in a deadly mist, it looks like we’re set to see King’s 1980 novella stretched un­til it snaps, with the cen­tral fam­ily di­vided and the ac­tion cut­ting be­tween dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions: prin­ci­pally a shop­ping mall and a church.

Then it grad­u­ally dawns that this adap­ta­tion is bonkers. Whereas King’s story (and Frank Darabont’s 2007 movie) posited that the mist was an in­tru­sion of an oth­erdi­men­sional ecosys­tem, here it drives peo­ple crazy and sum­mons hor­rors from the hu­man mind. This re­sults in some mem­o­rable agents of death: killer leeches; a life-suck­ing zom­bie baby; the Four Horse­men. But when any­thing can hap­pen, it can feel like there’s no terra firma. And much of the char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion is equally wild – as the sit­u­a­tion goes south it can be hard to tell whether it’s down to the mist’s in­flu­ence or not.

At times, you may won­der if the writ­ers have been tok­ing on the mist. This is a se­ries that re­peat­edly plays with sen­si­tive sub­ject mat­ter – ho­mo­pho­bia, men­tal ill­ness, in­cest. One cen­tral mys­tery boils down to a game of “guess the rapist”. Good taste is not some­thing we ex­pect from hor­ror – we’d rather see it pok­ing its dirty fin­gers into raw wounds. But The Mist can feel un­easily ex­ploita­tive. One char­ac­ter rev­e­la­tion in par­tic­u­lar could be viewed as en­dors­ing the worst kind of stereo­type.

Still… re­lax into it and The Mist be­comes a guilty plea­sure. What hor­rific be­hav­iour will we wit­ness this week? What will be the next melo­dra­matic bomb­shell? Will they top the killer leeches? And it does boast one tri­umph in Mrs Raven, self-ap­pointed mes­sen­ger of a na­ture red in tooth and claw, who jus­ti­fies un­speak­able acts with phrases like, “When a gazelle is in­jured, the herd moves on.” Frances Con­roy’s chill­ingly un­der­stated per­for­mance pro­vides this warped, sleazy show’s one touch of gen­uine class. Ian Ber­ri­man

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