Horror based on the novella by Stephen King. After a number of people in a small town in Maine are killed by supernatural creatures lurking in a thick fog, a small group of survivors led by artist David Drayton (Thomas Jane) take shelter in a local supermarket. The frightened survivors attempt to discover the origins of the deadly mist, with rumours pointing toward an experiment conducted at a nearby military base. As the world around them slowly descends into a literal hell-on-earth, one of the survivors calls for Old Testament-style sacrifices in order to pacify the malevolent forces.
Writer-director Frank Darabont, who showcased the softer side of Stephen King in his film adaptations of The Shawshank Redemption
and The Green Mile
, turns to darker material for The Mist
, his latest King adaptation about a group of ordinary townspeople trapped in a supermarket by a mysterious fogbank. Thomas Jane is top-billed as a Maine illustrator who attempts to calm the frightened shoppers, but his job is cut out for him from the get-go, first by the discovery of malevolent creatures lurking in the mist, and then by the mad mutterings of Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden), a local eccentric who calls for Old Testament-style sacrifices to appease the supernatural forces. Darabont delivers monster movie thrills and understated social commentary with equal skill, and he's well supported by his cast (which includes Andre Braugher, Toby Jones, William Sadler and Jeffrey DeMunn) and the vivid special effects by KNB EFX, which effectively mix CGI with models and stop-motion animation (the terrific monsters were designed by legendary comic book artist Bernie Wrightson). And for those curious about how the novella's downbeat ending has translated to film, suffice it to say that Darabont's conclusion is at once different and more unsettling than King's. --Paul Gaita