When you’ve directed probably the most well loved movie of all time (according to IMdb The Shawshank Redemption is number 2 at the moment) yet still remain a fairly unknown name you’ve gotta be a little peeved. So Frank Darabont, quite rightly, has gone back to the teet of Stephen King to perhaps raise his profile. While the film is in no way up there with Tim Robbins bustin’ out of prison its still an intelligent, scary and well crafted film.
When a storm hits Maine, (its a King adaptation, where the hell else would it be set?) David Drayton, an artist (its a King adaptation, he should be a writer Godammit!) heads on over to the local supermarket with his son and neighbour. Whilst shopping a petrified local comes running in telling them to barricade the doors, for there is something in the mist. Fuck yeah there is! Spiders, winged insects the size of your head and cockroaches bigger than my balls (seriously I’m backed up). Worse than that though, our heroes are stuck in the supermarket with a Christian who won’t shut up.
This ends up being worse than the beasties outside as Christians who won’t shut up are really, really annoying and dangerous (see the American Government for more details). But these Christians prove to be the strongest part of the film as the interplay between the two human groups (normal folk Vs religious types) shits all over the scenes where the humans interact with the decidedly ropey CGI. The human scenes are also fun because you get to play “I know him, I do.” See if you can spot Capote, Death (from Bill and Ted) and that chick from The X-Files. Lose marks for thinking Andre Braugher is Bunny Colvin from The Wire and for thinking Thomas Jane is Christopher Lambert sans mullet.
This game will only pass some of the time so thankfully there is a lot more generally good filmmaking going on. The sense of what America really is seems to have been well captured within the confines of your local 7-11 i.e most people are decent, ‘lets help each other and use our brains’ type folk, the others being easy lead simpletons who panic at the first mention of fear. But more than just an indictment of that place that eats Hot Dogs, The Mist has to be one of the bleakest summer movies I’ve ever seen. The message from Shawshank that “Hope can set you free” is one that main character David Drayton should have probably held on to.