The Mist feels like a movie trying to be more than it is. That isn’t a complaint or a criticism. This is a B-Movie, with a ridiculous horror premise, fairly dodgy effects and not-quite A-List actors giving decent performances. It never settles for B-Movie and some of the ambition could be seen in a recent Hollywood blockbuster.
The premise is a simple one. A small town community go about their daily shopping in a local supermarket when a strange mist descends on the store. Suddenly, Jeffrey DeMunn’s Dan Miller enters screaming about monsters attacking him and the group find themselves trapped, unable to leave the store but not exactly safe within it.
So far it is a standard siege movie, something that has been done many times before. There is something slightly different and more interesting about The Mist though. Within the store is a host of characters that often make the action inside the shop, rather than what is attacking from outside, more interesting.
This is down to the eclectic characters. Tom Jane is the everyman hero, desperately trying to protect his son, Toby Jones is the level-headed store manager, Andre Braugher plays the skeptic bashing heads with Jane while most interesting of all is the crazed but manipulative Mrs. Carmody, played superbly by Marcia Gay Harden. It makes for a film of clashing characters, separate, warring factions and a subtle social commentary that covers everything from mob-mentality to the danger of religious-obsession.
It means the film would work on some level without the monsters attacking from outside but it doesn’t have to. The monsters add a great level of horror. Gory in places and other times with laughable effects, The Mist does a great job of building suitable tension too. One section in the neighbouring pharmacy, where the spider-monsters have nested, will have people itching like crazy as they watch the characters fight their way back to safety.
It isn’t all tension though. There is some great action sequences, particularly when the monsters attack at night. There is a lot to get invested in and although it often feels like a dodgy B-Movie in places, you’ll never feel like it is laughable, in comparison to something absurd like Sharknado.
This is especially when it comes to the final parts of the movie. To say too much here would spoil one of the best moments in the movies. As twists go, The Mist has one of the greatest but the moments building before that show as much imagination as any summer blockbuster today, and does so on the minimal of budgets.
Overall, The Mist is a movie with ambition and it works so well because of it. It balances horror, action and a dramatic social story too, with a good selection of characters and the actors who portray them. The ending is enough to warrant a watch of this movie alone though.
Rating – 4.5
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