Review Roundup - Bugging out

THE MIST (2007) 

 Frank Darabont's third Stephen King adaptation brings to the screen something truly unsettling - being stuck at the local store during the busy hours. Though I guess there are some other horror elements. Part siege movie, part monster mash; it handles some great set pieces and a few fun characters even if there is more splatter than atmosphere in places and not all the effects are convincing. It's solid entertainment but never really scary, and it's fun to see how things unfold as it mixes predictable tropes with unexpected jolts of imagination.

The best parts are definitely those when the things hiding in wait finally show their tendrils, as there is a great variety of critters that each get a memorable moment on screen. The surprises come from what is going to come next and it keeps things feeling uneasy when they are never the same twice. Of course the nature of the plot means that the worst monsters are some of the people hiding inside. Is there such a thing as Law of the Flies? That's what they should call it. While I didn't find Tom Jane's everyman hero very engaging, his co-stars bring a decent enough level of personality to the story without that much time to share amongst so many faces trapped together. I guess they merge into the films 'character' together as an ensemble. Toby Jones gets to do another great accent though which is always good. They even manage to dodge the deadly poison of forced romance and teen drama too, so that's nice - though a brief scene almost goes there.

My issues are that it's very heavy handed in a few places that should have been more subtle. It's clear from the outset that sooner or later the survivors are going to start getting to one another but it's very blunt and almost cartoon like in a few moments. That's not necessarily a bad thing but if that was the tone they were going for, it's a nice idea that should have been focused on - since the darker scenes suffer for it. Some of the musical choices that I guess are meant to evoke "emotive drama" in the third act are really odd too, almost sounding like they are from the wrong genre. Overall though it felt like a nice throwback in a period full of found useless footage movies, and I believe an adaptation was planned in the 80s so it's good some of that vibe stuck. Though I do wonder what benefits there are to seeing black and white version available on the home releases.