Set almost entirely in a shop, Dawn of the Dead-style, The Mist is a 2007 horror dirge about a bunch of idiots hiding from some mist. “Would the malevolent mist please make its way to aisle five…”
How come the mist doesn’t get into the shop? Why didn’t they check the weather forecast or just wear a hat? How could the writer-director duo behind The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile produce something so lazy? We haven’t the foggiest. Frank Darabont manages to stretch Stephen King’s novella over two hours, comprising tedious squabbles, pretentious moralising and cheap CGI.
The monster attacks are the film’s finest moments – if just to see these morons killed – but they’re seriously undermined by shoddy special effects. Gareth Edwards made Monsters look incredible for a fraction of the budget, with a level of care and attention totally absent from The Mist; a schlocky B movie with ideas well above its station.
Darabont, who must have missed Shaun of the Dead, seems oblivious to the inherent ridiculousness of a film about a malevolent mist. He plays it deathly serious, in a way that still seems insincere, immature and embarrassing. Whatever he was going for, he mist. Missed. Whatever. There’s no sense of fun or self-awareness, just cack-handed attempts at portentous insight – for instance, a line spoken by the film’s only proper actor Toby Jones: “Put more than two of us in a room, we pick sides and start dreaming up reasons to kill one another. Why do you think we invented politics and religion?” It thinks it’s The Road, but it’s not even Tremors.
Quite why Toby Jones’ character is stacking shelves in a supermarket, when clearly he’s a philosophy student we met at university, is never explained; perhaps a searing critique of the economic climate. But no one’s behaviour makes the slightest sense, from those apparently oblivious to their situation to those willing to ritually sacrifice one another within hours of being stuck in a convenience store. A convenience store! You have everything you could possibly need!
With its persistent dreariness and interminable logistical arguments, The Mist is a bigger-budget [Rec] – pronounced to rhyme with Dreck – but instead of zombies, they’re bickering about a bit of malevolent mist; they wouldn’t last a second in the UK. The Mist is overwrought, overwritten and ultimately overkill. In the end, the film is like its victims; all over the shop.