A hor­ror film not to be mist

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film Reviews -

THE MIST Di­rected by Frank Darabont. Star­ring Thomas Jane, Mar­cia Gay Har­den, An­dre Braugher, Lau­rie Holden, Frances Stern­hagen 16 cert, gen re­lease, 127 min WHEN Stephen King first ex­pe­ri­enced suc­cess as a nov­el­ist, he granted as­pir­ing film-mak­ers the rights to adapt his short sto­ries for the cost of a dol­lar each. Frank Darabont was 23 and de­vel­op­ing his first screen­plays when he ac­cepted that of­fer. In 1983, he wrote and di­rected a half-hour film based on King’s short story, The Wo­man in the Room.

Darabont’s sub­se­quent ca­reer as a di­rec­tor is in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked with King’s fiction. His first two fea­tures were The Shaw­shank Re­demp­tion (1994) and The Green Mile (1999), were both set in pris­ons, their nar­ra­tives rooted in hu­man­ism.

Darabont re­turns to King for his fourth fea­ture. The Mist also takes place pri­mar­ily within an en­closed lo­ca­tion, this time a su­per­mar­ket in a rural area of King’s na­tive Maine, and just when it seems like the end of the world as we know it.

The Mist opens on omi­nously bad weather. When an elec­tri­cal storm cuts the power lines, David Dray­ton (Thomas Jane), an il­lus­tra­tor, takes his young son (Nathan Gam­ble) from their lake­side home to stock up es­sen­tial sup­plies, ar­riv­ing as the town is en­veloped in a mys­te­ri­ous mist. Huge, hideous ten­ta­cled crea­tures are lurk­ing in the fog, cour­tesy of a dili­gent spe­cial ef­fects de­part­ment, but Darabont is more con­cerned with the re­sponse of the hu­mans inside the store.

As is de rigeuer for the genre, the shop­pers and staff rep­re­sent a re­mark­ably di­verse cross-sec­tion of so­ci­ety, all drawn as stock stereo­types, and the con­se­quences sug­gest a trans­po­si­tion of Lord of the Flies to a re­tail mi­lieu. In­evitably, some dis­pens­able mi­nor char­ac­ters will re­act fool­ishly, only to be chewed up by the mon­sters.

In the movie’s most en­ter­tain­ing per­for­mance, Mar­cia Gay Har­den chews up the scenery as a re­li­gious zealot who ac­tu­ally ad­vo­cates serv­ing up a hu­man sac­ri­fice to ap­pease the beasts at the door.

Yes, this is an­other bleak view of the hu­man race when it comes to mat­ters of self-preser­va­tion, and that is sus­tained to the movie’s res­o­lutely bit­ter end.

Run­ning over two hours, The Mist is ac­tu­ally Darabont’s short­est fea­ture to date. To its credit, a lot more hap­pens than in the sim­i­larly themed The Hap­pen­ing. But ev­i­dently un­aware of the maxim that less is more, Darabont al­lows the movie to ram­ble, dis­si­pat­ing the at­mos­phere. MICHAEL DWYER

Mys­ti­fy­ing: trapped in the fog

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.