Anything that is classic Stephen King story bubbles up memories of when I finally started to love reading. I was a late-bloomer when it came to books. It's mainly because of King that I became a reader at all. We go back a long way. Cujo was the first 'real' book I'd ever read. I remember finally being able to connect the written word to vivid visuals because of that book. School was busy jamming Red Badge of Courage down my throat and I was gagging on that crap. It was Him who confirmed it wasn't me being close minded-- it was simply a matter of taste. And my taste wasn't for language-- it was for blood. And he painted with the stuff...
I remember knowing the date that the new Stephen King would be released. Always in the Fall. Like it was an album of my favorite band. I would wonder if my local independent bookstore would maybe have the balls to put it on the shelves a day or two early. And after it was in my hands, I'd crack it open and smell it. It always smelled good. There was something about Stephen King books that read like books I'd write-- if I wrote them first. And no other author has really jolted or gagged me with words (except maybe Bret Ellis with American Psycho but that doesn't count because that was more of a gag reflex). Anybody who thinks he's some crap hack... put down whatever you're reading and read The Shining (no it doesn't matter that you've seen the movie)
Anyway, The Mist is one of those stories that reads like a hot-open turkey sandwich at the diner on a 40 degree day. And when I heard that Franz Daramount (Shawshank, Green Mile) was taking this on... I was totally like, 'Yay!' I like that guy! I watched the preview 20x. I liked how Marcia Gray Hardent looked appropriately religiously psycho and how the rope tied to the guy out in the mist... went up. And how the creatures were going to finally be alive!
But unfortunately this flick has it's ups and downs all the way through. First off, it really skedaddled through any sort of setup. It was like, all of a sudden we're at the supermarket with bloody nosed dude yelling, 'There's something in the mist. Shut the doors... shut the doors!!!' I was like, 'Already?' It took a bit of time for this flick to find its footing. The early dialogue and pacing was way clunky. The whole thing felt like it stepped onto the ice rink and did one lap holding onto the wall. I started to worry that The Mist was gonna stink up the room.
Then octopus tentacle creature ripped a chunk out of flesh of some dudes chest and the people onscreen seemed surprised to see that. And it started comfortably slapping name tags on the people around the supermarket. 'Asshole'. 'Crazy bitch'. 'Dead man walking'. 'Ballsy old lady'. Setting them up like bowling pins. But way often the dialogue was noticeably bad and the actions of the people in the store were out of human character. Like if I could imagine being a much better leader in that situation-- you know something ain't right.
But every time I started to get annoyed with this flick it would rebound with some truly funtabulous horribleness! I totally dug the creatures and the noises they made and the terribleness they practiced! And how they looked organically mutated mixed with robot! Yay for terrible monsters! Bring em on! The more the merrier! Girl gets stung in the neck by giant flying scorpion-fly! (nelson muntz) Ha ha! Crazy bat-dactyl flying through the store while on fire! Works for me! Spider filled guy! Sucks for that dude!
Yadda, there's a new ending tacked onto this thing-- which I guess I liked because I didn't see it coming (I'm always blind to stuff like that). It was a respectable bonus although it was just difficult to buy. Too many other options were on the table. And in the end, that was my main issue with it all. The easiest thing to really buy into was the reality of the monsters. The people themselves is what made the whole thing sort of hard to swallow...
Three Good Things About this Movie
- You would have to work really hard to screw this up. And it seemed like
they worked really hard to not.
- I sort of felt bad for the creatures sometimes. I always like that dynamic.
- The division of attitude and philosophy in the supermarket did become realistic... in theory.
Three Bad Things About this Movie
- It was totally bullshit that at least half the people weren't smoking cigarettes non-stop.
- The quickie girl/soldier romance was so jammed in there it re-reminded me how cheap it all felt and looked.
- There are soldiers in the store! Maybe want to get them involved a little?
All in all, if you're a fan of B-movies and creepy crawlies-- you can't go wrong with this movie. It all moves along pretty fast and Marcie Grey Harden does a nice job of stepping up to the religious plate. But when push came to shove the whole thing reminded me of a good TV show-- not a movie. With TV I've come to expect surface characters. Replacable non-faceables. With movies I expect to see what makes people really tick. But in this flick, pretty much all the characters were a step from anonymous. We never get to look them dead in the eyes. Aka I don't care when they get friggin torn in half. And that's just not horror to me... that's comedy.