A strange mist descends over a small town and a motley band of its inhabitants seek refuge in the local supermarket.
Based on a *sigh* Stephen King novella, The Mist was written for the screen and directed by Frank “The Shawshank Redemption” Darabont; his skillful eye and feel for narrative pacing means that it has a sense of quality missing from many of the myriad King adaptations. Some of the sequences have just the right amount of tension and the initial encounters with the creatures are genuinely creepy and suspenseful in a way that reminded me of John Carpenter in his hay day. But once again, the Achilles heel is Stephen King himself; the story itself is very weak indeed. The talents of the director and a decent if slightly uninspired set of performances are the only things that obscure the fact. All the ideas are rehashes of familiar old cliches and you can never escape the fact that the creatures are nothing more than badly designed, computer generated cartoons. I can enjoy a daft creature feature as long as it has a sense of humour, but King’s dour self-importance once again means that the film takes itself painfully seriously despite the clearly ludicrous premise.
As far as the famous ending goes, I would also have to point out that if horror is used as an allegory or has an intelligent subtext then a comment about futility can be very powerful – as we see in George A. Romero’s zombie films – but when its done purely for shock value it is just empty and meaningless.