This claustrophobic work of genius from director Frank Darabont, though splattered with blood and creepy bugs, is more than just some horror movie. Darabont (Shawshank Redemption and Green Mile, two other King masterstrokes) grasps the writer’s essence and wholly understands what it takes to make compelling cinema. The Mist’s major players –the heroic father (Thomas Jane), a way-too-logical lawyer (Andre Braugher), one Bible-toting hellion (Marcia Gay Harden)- are quickly established in the supermarket. When doomed souls dare to venture into the parking lot, everyone sees the ghastly things that can happen, but amazingly, they all react differently. Fight or flight… or the Christian right. Who knows? But once uneasy minutes become helpless hours, shoppers fearing the Apocalypse begin taking sides—and it’s then that the true horror builds in the aisles.
King and Darabont take stabs at religion, xenophobia and secret military practices between chilling scenes that feel as if they were shot in a single take. Marcia Gay Harden’s preachy Mrs. Carmody probably won’t get the Oscar respect she deserves because of the Academy’s high-art prejudice. Do not let such ignorance stop you, however, from seeing two legends of storytelling share a great tale that will leave you absolutely floored from the first scream up to the jaw-dropping final scene. -DW