director Frank Darabont
We revisited Frank Darabont’s The Mist not so much because I remembered it fondly (I saw it 8 years ago when it came out), but I thought it might entertain the kiddies.
The big thing that has changed since seeing The Mist in 2008 is The Walking Dead. It would be Darabont’s next project, launching in 2010. In a lot of ways, The Mist is a template for casting and directing the later television zombie apocalypse, only this time with Lovecraftian beasties. In fact, appearing in the movie are future Walking Dead cast members Melissa McBride and Laurie Holden. And while maybe those are the only two I recognized, you already get a sense of casting an apocalypse for diversity and character acting well in place. Walking Dead executive producer Greg Nicotero served on The Mist as creature designer.
The Mist has some good things going for it. Darabont builds the characters deftly and uses the setting of the grocery store to good measure.
But the film is more flawed than good. The creature effects are not great. Those tentacles have not aged well. In one of the better set-up scenes, when giant insects are attracted to the flashlights, the creatures fail to have uniqueness or impact. Digital really lets you down, as it often has.
Additionally, while some of the characterization is good, some of it is still over the top. Marcia Gay Harden gives her all as the manic grocery store preacher, but she’s so intense, it’s hard to fathom any large group would be so turned to her way of thinking, especially after only a day or two of entrapment. In fact, the film’s other potent device, the suicides, also are hard to buy. It’s only been a couple of days and people are dropping themselves like flies.
I didn’t come around to The Walking Dead until last year, but now I’m in. And from the perspective of how that show has evolved, it’s interesting to see somewhat of a sketch draft from before it went to market.