CINEMA: Schlock King

the_mist_movie_poster2_1_1_1.jpgTHE MIST (2007, directed by Frank Darabont, 127 minutes, U.S.)


Still lingering around in area theaters is Frank Darabont’s adaptation of Stephen King’s 1980 novella The Mist, a film intriguing enough that it would be underselling it to say it is merely the best King adaptation in years.  The End Days come to a small town Maine supermarket when an eerie mist descends the hills, obscuring a multi-tentacled beast that has jumped dimensions to terrorize the imprisoned shoppers.  All manner of giant bugs and slimy vagina-like creatures lay waste to the All-American crew cowering among the aisles while Darabont’s film make the case that our inability to rally our energies and confront these evil critters may be our ultimate downfall.

The movie shows its intentions from the opening scene, when a wind storm knocks a tree through David’s (Thomas “The Punisher” Janes) art studio, tearing an iconic painting of cowboy Clint Eastwood down the center.  As things progress, Darabont continues to illustrate the premise that the American people are too wracked by fear and internal dissension to find their inner cowboy and face down danger.  As swarms of bat-like insects cling to the windows the store’s shoppers split into factions along race, class and religious lines, with Marcia Gay Harden memorably spitting Hellfire as a batty apocalyptic Christian.

The funny thing is, just as I feared the film was getting too overtly preachy, the packed audience at the Riverview started mimicking the action by breaking up across similar lines.  Well-placed lulls in the action allow the tension in The Mist to really climb to a boil and sure enough, the audience started to vocalize who should be thrown in the monster’s C.G.I. tentacles first.  “Let him go” some yelled at the black character who charges racial bias.  “Throw him out” they screamed at the doofus working class mechanic.  If Darabont is overt in his sermonizing that we must come together to face down Satan, my movie-going experience found the choir to be swept up by the terror and stone deaf as well.

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