Saturday, 27 October 2012
With each rewatch the weak special effects are not any less jarring, but this is still a bold, relentlessly bleak horror where the real terrors are located more with the nature of humanity than the creatures brought by the mist enveloping the town. Early on the film's B-movie feel - a blood covered survivor runs in proclaiming 'something out there, in the mist!' like an RKO movie tagline - gives the impression of a monster movie with a siege setting like Hitchcock's The Birds, but this is belied by its pessimistic view of society, as the survivors gradually split into two groups, one of them led by Thomas Jane's David, the other by the frighteningly zealous, Christian doomsayer Mrs Carmody, played by a brilliant Marcia Gay Haden. I don't think a character has ever made me say 'fuck yeah' for someone's death with more conviction than when Toby Jones shoots her in the head, but the really disturbing thing is I can imagine there are some people in this world like her. It's a film which really doesn't pull its punches, not just in regard to its much discussed, depressing ending, but in its depiction of religious mob justice, as one of the soldiers is murdered by Carmody's crowd of converts. Thomas Jane is strong in the lead as the father-with-son who leads the band of sane survivors, and Tony Jones is his ever reliable self as the store clerk who knows how to handle a gun, although the boy who plays the son is a fucking whiny sissy boy who seems to be crying every other scene. Although the effects do let it down at times and the creatures are for the most part forgettable, Darabont nonetheless builds tension expertly at the right moments and keeps the atmosphere of human paranoia strong.