<div style="float:left">
<script type="text/javascript"><!--
google_ad_client = "pub-9764823118029583";
/* 125x125, created 12/10/07 */
google_ad_slot = "8167036710";
google_ad_width = 125;
google_ad_height = 125;
<script type="text/javascript"
</script></div>{/googleAds}If Steven King wrote a dirty limerick on a bathroom stall, Hollywood would option it - the man is that revered, and on so many occasions that good. But more often than not the film adaptations of his works don't match the quality or expectations audiences hold for the ‘King of Horror'.

When one does seem to strike a chord and hit big with both critics and the general public it's usually one of King's less fantastical tales, such as ‘Misery' or ‘The Shawshank Redemption'... not always, but often.

When it was announced that three-time King adaptation director Frank Darabont was going to tackle King's ‘The Mist' this reviewer couldn't help but think of the disaster that was ‘Dreamcatcher,' in which The Mist shares some similarity in tone. However there was hope; after all, Darabont has given us Shawshank and The Green Mile, and is always intrinsically representative of a director who delivers depth-filled characters and emotionally resonating stories, no matter how fantastical they may become.

The Mist, in the wrong hands, was destined to become a schlock piece that focused on the wrong areas of the story. After all, the basic premise of a group of small town folk at the mercy of a mist filled with killer monsters doesn't automatically take one's mind to one of character driven drama... but that's exactly what Darabont delivers.

David Drayton (Thomas Jane) takes his son to a small town supermarket for some supplies, following a violent storm. On arrival a mysterious mist descends on the town and traps them and a group of townsfolk (with varying beliefs and socioeconomic backgrounds) within the store... because each time one of them tries to leave, unseen monsters rip them apart. Within days the group begins to divide into two opposing factions; one being led by a religious fanatic convinced The Apocalypse has begun. The more desperate both sides become, the more dangerous it becomes for the ‘non-believers' to stay... forcing a difficult choice upon them: whether to face the mist or stay where they will almost certainly end up being judged.

This film plays heavily on the compelling unravelling of a society, to the point where the monster element of the story is more like a hurdle trapping the heroes than the focus of the story. Darabont weaves paranoia with paranormal masterfully, delivering a tense adventure that shifts perspectives constantly without seeming disjointed. But perhaps his greatest contribution to this story is the change to King's original ending, which is far more gut-wrenching than the novella and takes you completely by surprise.

Thomas Jane again proves he has the chops to be a compelling leading man, but it is Marcia Gay Harden that steals the show as the poisoness religious fanatic Mrs. Carmody. The supporting cast are a delightfully varied and suit the small town aesthetic, never feeling like Hollywood versions of a small town crowd.

The cinematography cleverly aids in building the tension, going tighter and tighter on the characters as things begin to unravel. The special effects are first rate, unsurpringly, however Darabont's choice to make the monsters once seen look like something out of Lord of The Rings may be the one misstep this film makes. They're almost cartoonish, and serve to take you out of the intense emotional horror he so successfully builds throughout the movie.

All in all, ‘The Mist' has to be the most compelling combination of other-worldly horror and the horrors of human paranoia since John Carpenter's ‘The Thing'. Darabont is three for three in his feature adaptations, and word has it there will be a fourth soon enough.


DVD Details:

Screen Formats: 1.85:1

Subtitles: English; Spanish; Closed Captioned

Language and Sound: English: English: Dolby Digital 5.1; English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; Featurettes; scene access.

* Commentary
o Feature-length commentary track with Frank Darabont
* Featurettes
o When Darkness Comes: The Making of The Mist
o Taming the Beast: The Making of Scene 35
o Monsters Among Us: A Look at the Creature FX
o The Horror of it All: The Visual FX of The Mist.
o Drew Struzan: An Appreciation of An Artist
* Deleted Scenes - 7 minutes worth of scenes that didn't make the final cut - with optional commentary
* DVD-Rom features:
o Webisodes - 3 short behind-the-scenes features
* Trailers - 3 previews for The Mist

Number of Discs: 2 with Keepcase Packaging