STEPHEN KING’S THE MIST. 2007. DIRECTED BY FRANK DARABONT. STARRING THOMAS JANE AND MARCIA GAY HARDEN. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! This film is an absolute cracker. Based on the novella by horror maestro Stephen King, it tells the story of the inhabitants of a small new England town which is battered one night by an almighty storm. Next morning, the storm is over but now a thick sinister mist is hanging over every darned thing for miles around. So far, so normal, right…? Wait and see…
Thomas Jane plays David Drayton, an ordinary husband and father who takes his son to the local supermarket to pick up some of the supplies he’ll need to patch up the house after the storm. Things take an ugly turn, however, when he and the other shoppers are trapped inside the store by unidentified tentacled horrors materialising out of the rapidly thickening mist. Tentacled…? Horrors…? Baby, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Things go from bad to worse for the terrified shoppers barricaded inside their local store. Over the course of the film, they are attacked and torn horribly apart by hideous oversized bugs and flies, mini-dragons, giant killer spiders and a gargantuan Praying Mantis. What the diddly…? as Ned Flanders might say.
Our curiosity has just about reached boiling point when it is revealed that experiments into other dimensions on the nearby army base may just have accidentally opened a door into another world, a world populated by the nightmarish creatures who are now preying on the shoppers. My eyes were the size of saucers by this point. A door into another world…? How super-cool is that…?
Anyway, the onslaught continues until a little core group of shoppers, led by David Drayton, decide that they’ve had enough of hiding out in the store waiting to be picked off by the creatures from another dimension. They’re getting the hell out of Dodge and hang the consequences…
Several brilliant performances set this film apart from your average run-of-the-mill horror flick. Marcia Gay Harden, who plays Christian Grey’s Mum in FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, is superb as religious zealot Mrs. Carmody. TobyJones, the actor portraying Ollie Weekes, the insignificant little store-clerk-turned-hero, does a fantastic job of showing us how perfectly ordinary people can turn into giants when the chips are really and truly down.
A few of the other characters, too, like the feisty elderly lady schoolteacher and the gutsy biker dude, are all sympathetic characters whom I’d be happy to personally save from the monsters. Frequently when you watch horror films, some of the characters are so unpleasant that you’re actually happy when they get killed by the zombies/serial killer/flesh-eating virus, etc. Not so with THE MIST, which probably contains one of the highest quotas of sympathetic characters I’ve ever come across. Let me tell you, that’s unusual enough for a horror film.
The ending, which I wouldn’t reveal to you under any circumstances, no, not even if you plied me with enough wine and chocolate to open my own convenience store, is heartbreaking. It’s also one of the best endings I’ve seen in a horror film. Check it out the first chance you get. Also, the B-movie element of the film, with the fantastical otherworldly monsters and creatures from another dimension, really floats my boat. I adore B-movies!
If I were Stephen King, I’d be well pleased with this page-to-screen adaptation of my work. Mind you, if I were Stephen King, I’d also be a whole hell of a lot richer, successful, famous and with my place in the annals of literary history assured. But I’m not Stephen King, and I never will be. Christ. Now I’m depressed. Just go and watch the film, will you? I’ll be right here, just being me. Little old unsuccessful me… Sigh.
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.
Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.
She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at: