‘The Mist’ (2007)

Now don’t get me wrong, here — ‘ The Mist ‘ (2007) was adequately executed, beautifully shot and well cast, but Frank Darabont ought to have done more to haul the premise of Stephen King’s novella out of the ’50′s.

I used to be a King fan way, way back and read a good few of his books back in my junior HS days. I even followed some of his adaptations for a while — his adaptations from other people’s ideas and other people’s adaptations of his work — but that was before Frank Darabont started making his filmazations.

From the commercials that advertised the movie last fall, ‘The Mist’ looked as though it was going to be a King-remake of John Carpenter’s ‘ The Fog ‘ (1980), which was entirely unnecessary and redundant, considering the widely panned ‘Fog’ remake of 2005.

Lo and behold, ‘The Mist’ was based on a 1980 novella — early, as far as King’s career is concerned — and not necessarily one of his more apparent/glaring ripoffs, since ‘The Fog’ only appeared on screens in 1980. That, and the ‘mist’ in this case inexplicably provides cover for extra-dimensional insects and flying lizards, as opposed to the ghosts of dead pirates. King’s ‘inspiration’ for ‘The Mist’ was more likely one of the old EC comics — you know, the ones about zombies and coprophages — that created an uproar among politicians and lead to the creation of the Comics Code Authority .

Where ‘The Mist’ falls down is the writing — with all of the crappy, Red-State themed teen-slasher ‘Deliverance’-type flicks we’ve seen over the past couple of years and the ‘War on Terror’ fear-mongering, you’d think that Darabont could mine something more involving than this Cold War-inspired invasion flick. But that’s precisely where Darabont leaves it, with a Twilight Zone -type twist ending, rather than a resolution of the many Red State vs. Blue State conflicts that he creates on the central set-piece of his supermarket.

As an end calculus, I think that Darabont opened up too many worm-cans: He may have been faithful to the King novella, and masterful about eliciting the conflicts between his supermarket protagonists — hats off to Macia Gay Harden as the crazy church-lady — but the insects, the scifi element and the implied social commentary (or lack thereof) just didn’t hold together at the end.

That, and he kills off both Alexa Davalos’ and Andre Braugher’s characters too early.

Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

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