Somebody (possibly Trotsky, although I have my doubts) once said that any civilised society is only three square meals away from revolution. Well, it’s not even that long if you’re in 'The Mist' – this lot seem to go ‘Lord of the Flies’ on each other’s asses within the space of an extended coffee break.
Being trapped in a supermarket, attacked by giant bugs and nasties… it’s a situation that gets you thinking, "How would I cope?" And I’ve decided that I’d cope very well, using #1 in my list of Horror Safety Tips, which reads, “Hide.” For there are very few situations in Horror movies where hiding is not the best option - take 'Night of the Living Dead' for example – if everyone had followed Mr. Cooper’s advice and hid in the cellar, they’d have been fine.
In the case of the supermarket in ‘The Mist’, the solution is simple. I’d have made a little cubby hole behind the beans in the canned food aisle, took in a pillow, a portable TV, some cans of beer and maybe some porn, and stayed put until I got rescued. No need to make dumb-ass ‘heroic’ excursions to the Pharmacy next door for an elastoplast and get everyone killed.
As for the film itself, well, filming a lot of panicky people with a handheld camera does not mean you’ve made a post 9/11 allegory. It just means you’re not very original. And let’s talk about the CGI monsters - goddamn, they’re awful. In fact, has there ever been a decent CGI monster? King Kong? Gollum? Not for me, thanks. I want my monsters to be made out of something with more substance than a few computer pixels. And so too, apparently, did the actors in The Mist, as they struggled laughably to react to something that wasn’t there.
The Mist harkens back to the Golden era of Stephen King films i.e. when they weren’t very good, and were more often than not taken from short stories and stretched out way too long to make a movie. Resulting in the jarring timescales that I’ve mentioned above. The Mist should either have been a half hour ‘Tales from the Crypt’ TV episode, or a TV series. As a 2 hour movie, it simply doesn’t work.
And the lead actor Thomas Jayne doesn’t help. He’s wooden, lacks personality, delivers his lines without any feeling at all, and WORST OF ALL bears an uncannily resemblance to Christopher Lambert. Where did they find this guy? Marcia Gay Harden as baddie-cult-leader-madwoman Mrs. Carmody is wonderful, but even so, this film remains firmly in Maximum Overdrive territory.
And the ending… the ‘controversial ending’… what did YOU think? If you laughed out loud and then thought “Christ, why didn’t he just WAIT?”, then join the club - you’re on the same wavelength as me!