Terror and horror are words that put a sense of danger in the hearts of most people. But who would have thought that water vapor could be scary?
People might have to reexamine this belief after seeing “The Mist.” And like its title states, the film as a whole is like vapor, filled with substance but not much of it.
In the center of this film is David Drayton, played by Thomas Jane. David is a very successful artist, who makes a hefty living by selling his art.
An electrical storm hits the town and a tree smashes through a window of his house.
When David and his wife, Stephanie, check out the damages to their house, they notice something over the lake.
Jane, who starred in “The Punisher,” hits and misses in the hero department.
David takes his son, leaves his wife and goes to the local supermarket to get some supplies. This is when an unforeseeable “mist” engulfs the town.
For the first part of the movie, you are reminded constantly about the mysteries that lurk in the mist. Sayings like “There’s something in the mist,” or “Don’t go in the mist,” gets repetitive in the first five minutes of mentioning it.
The writing could have come up with some different ways to describe the giant cloud taking over the town.
The store protects the survivors like a bomb shelter. There is food and water, of course, but coincidentally does not have a pharmacy.
Also, out of almost 30 people, no one seems to have any sense of technology. Most of the characters trapped in the store have little personality. Half are locals and the other half are out-of-towners.
There are some side stories in the film that are fun to explore and others that are not.
The main characters presented are put into the leadership roles, giving the film its best qualities.
Since every horror film needs a villain in human form, Marcia Gay Harden plays the over-religious nut Ms. Carndony who believes that the mist is sent by God to punish this one town for its sinful ways.
Toby Jones plays the nerdy clerk, Ollie, and provides us with comic relief at some points during the movie.
Unfortunately, that is the extent of the good characters on screen. Other characters play as stereotypes in a B horror movie, that could definitely be left out.
The two mechanics are there to prove that most men are dumb and do not like to be called dumb. Brent Norton, who is played by the consistently good Andre Braugher, is there to show that smart people are dumb as well and do not like their intelligence insulted.
These roles only serve to set up the roles of heroes and villains and does nothing to enhance the plot. The plot will still go on if these characters were not there.
On the other hand, David is smart and realizes things before they happen, but hesitates in following his own instincts. The audience is left wondering when he is going to make a move, because he knows the situation beforehand.
Because of his passiveness, David gets run over by less-developed characters who are possibly less interesting than him.
Based on a novella by Stephen King, director Frank Darabont is no stranger to King’s works. He wrote and directed “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Green Mile.”
However, in “The Mist,” Darabont seems to be concerned with how people interact and discuss topics instead of how they would behave in the face of Darabont should be commended for not making this a violent slugfest, with blood and gore in every scene. Too many of today’s horror films are filled with nothing but crude violence.
There are parts that are scary, but there are not enough parts that have action in them.
The rest of the movie has Darabont directing people to stand around and discuss the possibilities they have, instead of taking charge and doing something.
The creatures in the film come off as video-game characters, appearing as animals from far away, but up close, they are far from it.
Also there is only a repertoire of five different creatures. There are bugs, spiders and an octopus creature and that is about it.
“The Mist” sets up all the wrong things to do in the worst of situations. “The Mist,” like its lead character, is smart and sophisticated for a horror film.
But the film never carries out its plans, even up until the ending.
Maybe that is also a mystery lurking in the mist. Maybe Darabont should have looked for it.
Jonathan Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.