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The Mist

Theatrical poster
Directed by Frank Darabont
Produced by Frank Darabont
Martin Shafer
Liz Glotzer
Written by Screenplay:
Frank Darabont
Novella:
Stephen King
Starring Thomas Jane
Laurie Holden
Nathan Gamble
Toby Jones
Marcia Gay Harden
Frances Sternhagen
Andre Braugher
William Sadler
Jeffrey DeMunn
Chris Owen
Samuel Witwer
Music by Mark Isham
Cinematography Rohn Schmidt
Editing by Hunter M. Via
Studio Darkwoods Productions
Dimension Films
Distributed by Dimension Films
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
The Weinstein Company
Release date(s) North America:
November 21, 2007
United Kingdom:
July 4, 2008
Running time 125 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $18 million[1]
Gross revenue $57.3 million[2]

The Mist (also known as Stephen King's The Mist), is a 2007 American horror film based on the 1980 novella of the same name by Stephen King. The film is written and directed by Frank Darabont who had previously adapted Stephen King's works The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. Darabont had been interested in adapting The Mist for the big screen since the 1980s. The film features an ensemble cast including Thomas Jane, Nathan Gamble, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden, Toby Jones, Andre Braugher, Frances Sternhagen, and Sam Witwer.

Darabont began filming The Mist in Shreveport, Louisiana in February 2007. The director revised the ending of the film to be darker than the novella's ending, a change to which Stephen King was amicable. Unique creature designs were also sought to differ from creatures in past films. The Mist was commercially released in the United States and Canada on November 21, 2007. The Mist performed well at the box office and received generally positive reviews.

Although a monster movie, the central theme is what ordinary people will be driven to do under extraordinary circumstances. The plot revolves around members of the small town of Bridgton, Maine who conceal themselves in a local supermarket when a violent thunderstorm cuts off the power. While they struggle to survive an unnatural mist which envelops the town and conceals vicious otherworldly monsters, extreme tensions arise amongst the survivors.

Contents

Plot

The morning after a violent thunderstorm, commercial artist David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and his wife Stephanie (Kelly Collins Lintz) witness an unusual mist moving towards their lakeside home. More immediately concerned with cleaning up in the aftermath of the storm, David and neighbor Brent Norton (Andre Braugher), along with David's five-year-old son Billy (Nathan Gamble), go to the local grocery store, which, like the rest of the community, was left without power. While at the store, an increasing amount of police activity in the streets draws the attention of the patrons, culminating with tornado sirens going off and Dan Miller (Jeffrey DeMunn) running to the store with a bloody nose warning of something dangerous in the oncoming mist. Seeing the mist roll over the parking lot and hearing the scream of a man who ventures outside, the store patrons heed Miller's advice and seal themselves within the store, which is soon shaken by violent tremors. With visibility reduced to near-zero outside and uncertainty surrounding the fate of the man heard screaming before, a siege mentality takes hold.

Mentally-unstable religious fanatic Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden) suspects the onset of Armageddon. While looking for a blanket in the storeroom, David hears something pushing against the loading dock door. Local mechanics Myron (David Jensen) and Jim (William Sadler), and bag-boy Norm (Chris Owen) open the door in an attempt to repair the generator, against Drayton's warnings. A set of tentacles grip Norm, dragging him away to his death. David and assistant manager Ollie Weeks (Toby Jones) fail to convince Norton and other skeptical patrons not to go outside. One patron agrees to retrieve a shotgun from Cornell's (Buck Taylor) car. He ties a clothesline around his waist; the patrons are convinced of the danger when his severed lower body is dragged back to the store.

New creatures appear from the mist at nightfall; enormous flying insects and pterodactyl-like animals which pluck them off of the store windows, eventually breaking one of them and allowing the creatures in. Two people die in the ensuing attack, leaving another badly burned. During the attack, one of the insects lands on Mrs. Carmody, then flies away instead of delivering a fatal sting. Viewing this as validation of her beliefs, Carmody begins quickly gaining followers among the distraught patrons in the belief that the world is ending and a human sacrifice is needed to save them from the wrath of God. Amanda Dumfries (Laurie Holden) decides to watch over Billy in case David is not there for him. David and a group of volunteers try to retrieve medical supplies for the burn victim from the pharmacy next door, but are attacked by spider-like creatures which claim the lives of two of the volunteers. Seeing the failed expedition, Carmody's following grows stronger, with a visibly shaken Jim becoming one of her most vocal followers.

With the discovery that two soldiers from the Arrowhead Project have committed suicide during the expedition's absence, the remaining soldier, Private Wayne Jessup (Samuel Witwer), reveals that the project - rumored to be an attempt to look into other dimensions - was the likely origin of the mist. At Carmody's command, her followers use Jessup as a human sacrifice and throw him out into the mist where he is killed by an enormous, mantis-like creature. While preparing to leave the following morning, David and his group are intercepted by Mrs. Carmody, who at first demands that Billy and Amanda are to be sacrificed, then David's whole group. Ollie quickly shoots and kills her, horrifying her followers and forcing them to reluctantly allow David's group to leave. Ollie, Myron, and Cornell are killed in the ensuing escape but Amanda, David, Billy, Dan and Irene (Frances Sternhagen) make it safely to the car. They drive off, while Mrs. Carmody's angry ex-followers watch in shock.

Driving through the mist, David returns home to find his home destroyed and Stephanie dead, having fallen victim to the spider-like creatures. Heartbroken, he drives the group south, witnessing the destruction left in the wake of the mist and encountering a tentacled beast towering hundreds of feet high. Eventually, they run out of gas without finding any other survivors. While Billy is sleeping, the four adults accept their fate, deciding that there is no point in going any further. With four bullets left in the gun and five people in the car, David shoots Amanda, Dan, Irene, and his son, Billy, to spare them a more violent death by the creatures. Distraught and determined to die, David exits the vehicle, willing an approaching noise to end his misery. Shortly, he discovers the noise to be a self-propelled artillery vehicle, followed by a large contingent of soldiers equipped with NBC suits and flamethrowers. As the mist parts, several military trucks filled with soldiers and survivors pass David. Among the survivors is a woman from the market and her two kids, whom no one would escort home. Realizing that the killings were in vain, David falls to his knees screaming while two soldiers watch him in confusion.

Cast

Production

Development

Director Frank Darabont first read Stephen King's 1980 novella The Mist in the Dark Forces anthology,[3] and originally expressed interest in directing a film adaptation for his directing debut. He instead filmed The Shawshank Redemption, also based on another King novella.[4] In October 1994, after completing The Shawshank Redemption, Darabont reiterated his interest in filming The Mist.[5] Darabont did not immediately follow through, instead directing the 1999 film adaptation of Stephen King's The Green Mile.[6] Darabont eventually set up a first look deal for The Mist with Paramount Pictures, having been entrusted feature film rights by Stephen King.[4] By December 2004, Darabont said that he had begun writing an adapted screenplay for The Mist,[7] and by October 2006, the project moved from Paramount to Dimension Films, with Darabont attached to direct and actor Thomas Jane in negotiations to join the cast.[4]

Writing

"The story is less about the monsters outside than about the monsters inside, the people you're stuck with, your friends and neighbors breaking under the strain."
— Darabont on The Mist[8]

Director Frank Darabont chose to film The Mist after filming the "straighter dramas" The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile because he "wanted to make a very direct, muscular kind of film." Darabont conceived of a new ending in translating the novella for the big screen. Author Stephen King praised Darabont's new ending, describing it as one that would be unsettling for studios. King said, "The ending is such a jolt—wham! It's frightening. But people who go to see a horror movie don't necessarily want to be sent out with a Pollyanna ending."[9]

Darabont described The Mist as quaint in its elements of monsters and fear of the unknown compared to the contemporary popularity of films with torture porn. The director saw The Mist as a throwback to Paddy Chayefsky and William Shakespeare, explaining, "It's people at each other." He highlighted the element of fear in the film in how it compelled people to behave differently. Darabont said, "How primitive do people get? It's Lord of the Flies that happens to have some cool monsters in it."[3] He also drew parallels to The Twilight Zone episode "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" and the 1944 film Lifeboat.[1]

In the novella, the character David Drayton - who is married - has a sexual relationship with Amanda Dumfries, who is also married. Darabont did not want to attempt conveying on screen the protagonist being involved in an extramarital affair. The characters in the film, portrayed by Thomas Jane and Laurie Holden respectively, instead share a more emotional relationship. Jane explained, "We kind of form a little family, sort of surrogate family where my son and I’m a father and she becomes the mother to the son. We become a little unit as we’re trying to get through this nightmare together." Holden compared the nightmare to what refugees experienced at the Louisiana Superdome during Hurricane Katrina.[10]

While the origin of the mist is never explained in great details in the movie, Frank Darabont did write an opening scene in a draft dated 5 August 2005, in which the thunderstorm causes a malfunction at the Arrowhead Project's lab that allows the portal to another dimension to stay open too long. The scene was never filmed.

Filming

David and other survivors attempt to reach their car. Digital photography was avoided in production to give the film a documentary feeling.

In December 2006, Jane finalized negotiations with the studio to join the cast.[11] In January 2007, actors Andre Braugher and Laurie Holden joined Jane for the cast of The Mist.[12] Production began the following February at StageWorks of Louisiana, a sound stage and movie production facility in Shreveport, Louisiana.[13] Marcia Gay Harden and Toby Jones joined the cast later in the month.[14] William Sadler, Jeffrey DeMunn, and Brian Libby, each of whom appeared in Darabont's previous Stephen King adaptations The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, were cast in supporting roles. Sadler had previously played Thomas Jane's role, David Drayton, in a 1986 audio book version of The Mist. Darabont wanted to cast King in the supporting role that eventually went to Brian Libby, an offer King turned down. [1]

Darabont sought to pursue "a more fluid, ragged documentary kind of direction" with The Mist,[10] so he contacted the camera crew from the TV series The Shield to use their style in the film.[15] Darabont attempted to film The Mist digitally but found that it "wound up looking too beautiful". The director chose to film with 400 ASA from Fujifilm, which gave footage a grainy effect.[1]

In the opening shot, David is drawing in his room. The drawing is based on Stephen King's Dark Tower series, and the drawing was actually painted by famous movie poster designer, Drew Struzan. Darabont also put in re-productions of his posters and illustrations for John Carpenter's The Thing, Pan's Labyrinth, The Shawshank Redemption, and The Green Mile, paying a tribute to him.

Darabont collaborated with the production designer to create a mix of eras to avoid appearing as a period piece but also not looking so contemporary. Cell phones were used by characters in The Mist, but the military police in the film did not dress in modern attire. While an MP also drove an old Jeep instead of a Humvee, other cars seen in the film are modern models.[1]

Over a hundred extras from Shreveport, Louisiana were included in The Mist. Unlike conventional application of extras in the background of a film, sixty of the hundred extras were interwoven with the film's ensemble cast.[16] Additional elements giving the film a local flavor include the prominence of local Louisiana brands such as Zapp's potato chips. Exterior shots of the house at the beginning were in Shreveport. Exterior shots of the supermarket were in Vivian, Louisiana. Also, if looked closely at, the shields on the side of the passing firetrucks early in the movie identify them as part of the Caddo Parish fire department. This is possibly a mistake as the film is set in Maine.

Music

Frank Darabont chose to use music to minimal effect in The Mist in order to capture the "heavier feel" of the darker ending that he had written to replace the one from the novella. The director explained, "Sometimes movie music feels false. I’ve always felt that silent can be scarier than loud, a whisper more frightening than a bang, and we wanted to create a balance. We kept music to a minimum to keep that vérité, documentary feel." Darabont chose to overlay the song "The Host of Seraphim" by the band Dead Can Dance, a spiritual piece characterized by wailing and chanting. As a fan of Dead Can Dance, Darabont thought that the song played "as a requiem mass for the human race."[17] The original score was composed by Academy Award-nominated composer Mark Isham.

Effects

Norm is taken by claw-lined tentacles from the mist. Director Frank Darabont sought unique creature designs in the course of production.

Frank Darabont hired artist Bernie Wrightson to assist in designing the creatures for the film.[15] Greg Nicotero worked on the film's creature design and make-up effects, while Everett Burrell served as the visual effects supervisor. Nicotero initially sketched out ideas for creature design when Darabont originally expressed interest in filming The Mist in the 1980s. When the project was greenlit, Nicotero, Burrell, and Darabont collaborated about the creature design at roundtable meetings at CaféFX.[10] The studio for visual effects had been recommended to Darabont by Guillermo del Toro after Darabont asked the director who created the visual effects for Pan's Labyrinth. Due to the creatures being described in only a few sentences in the novella, Darabont sought to conceive of new designs. The challenge was to try and create the designs in such a way that they felt unique. Nicotero, who was versed in film history and genre history, reviewed past creature designs to avoid having similar designs.[1] When the designs were completed, Nicotero and Burrell educated the cast on the appearance of the creatures by showing puppets and the function of their eyes and mouths. The presentation of the puppets served as reference points for the cast, who had to respond to motion capture dots during filming.[10]

Release

Theatrical

The Mist was screened at the film festival ShowEast on October 18, 2007, at which director Frank Darabont received the Kodak Award for Excellence in Filmmaking for his previous works The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile.[18] The film was commercially released in the United States and Canada on November 21, 2007.[19] Over the opening weekend in the United States and Canada, The Mist grossed $8,931,973. As of August 9, 2009, the film has grossed $25,593,755 in the United States and Canada and $27,560,960 in other territories for a worldwide total of $57,289,103.[20]

DVD

The Mist was released on DVD on March 25, 2008. The single-disc includes an audio commentary by writer/director Frank Darabont, eight deleted scenes with optional commentary, and "A Conversation With Stephen King and Frank Darabont" featurette. The two-disc edition includes an exclusive black-and-white presentation of the film (as well as the color version), and five featurettes ("When Darkness Came: The Making of The Mist", "Taming the Beast: Shooting Scene 35", "Monsters Among Us: A Look at the Creature FX", "The Horror of It All: The Visual FX of The Mist", and "Drew Struzan: Appreciation of an Artist").

Reception

On the film review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, The Mist received a 73% approval rating, based on 139 reviews, with an average rating of 6.5/10.[21] It received a 59% approval rating from the 29 "Cream of the Crop" reviews.[22] On the website Metacritic, the film has received a metascore of 58 out of 100 based on 29 reviews.[23]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Edward Douglas (2007-11-16). "An Exclusive Interview with Mr. Frank Darabont!". ShockTillYouDrop.com. http://www.shocktillyoudrop.com/news/topnews.php?id=3609. Retrieved 2007-11-20. 
  2. ^ "The Mist (2007)". Box Office Mojo. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=mist.htm. Retrieved 2007-12-05. 
  3. ^ a b Stax (2007-07-28). "SDCC 07: Chatting in The Mist". IGN. http://movies.ign.com/articles/808/808923p1.html. Retrieved 2007-11-19. 
  4. ^ a b c Michael Fleming (2006-10-18). "'Mist' envelops Dimension". Variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117952204.html?categoryid=13&cs=1. Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  5. ^ Patrick Z. McGavin (1994-10-04). "LONG LIVE THE KING". Chicago Tribune. 
  6. ^ "The Green Mile (1999)". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120689/. Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  7. ^ "Frank Darabont on Adapting The Mist". ComingSoon.net. 2004-05-15. http://www.comingsoon.net/news/topnews.php?id=7617. Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  8. ^ Alexandyr Kent (2007-03-23). "'A bad day at the market'". The Times. 
  9. ^ Anthony Breznican (2007-06-20). "Stephen King adapts to Hollywood". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/news/2007-06-20-stephen-king-movies_N.htm. Retrieved 2007-11-19. 
  10. ^ a b c d Rebecca Murray (2007-08-15). "Behind the Scenes of The Mist Based on a Stephen King Story". About.com. http://movies.about.com/od/themist/a/themist081507.htm. Retrieved 2007-11-19. 
  11. ^ "The Punisher Enters The Mist". IGN. 2006-12-06. http://movies.ign.com/articles/749/749742p1.html. Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  12. ^ Borys Kit (2007-01-26). "Braugher, Holden float to 'Mist'". The Hollywood Reporter. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/search/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003538158. Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  13. ^ Alexandyr Kent (2007-01-19). "'The Mist' creeping into Shreveport". The Times. 
  14. ^ Michael Fleming (2007-02-21). "Actors will emerge from King's 'Mist'". Variety. http://www.ev.variety.com/article/VR1117959912.html?categoryid=2431&cs=1. Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  15. ^ a b Edward Douglas (2007-07-27). "Comic-Con '07: Two Clips From The Mist!". ShockTillYouDrop.com. http://www.shocktillyoudrop.com/news/comicconnews.php?id=903. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  16. ^ Alexandyr Kent (2007-11-18). "The core of a horror flick: 'The Mist' features dozens of local extras". The Times. http://www.shreveporttimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071118/LIVING/711150360/1004/LIVING. Retrieved 2007-11-20. 
  17. ^ David Frese (2007-11-17). "Frank Darabont dares to alter a Stephen King classic: ‘The Mist’". Kansas City Star. http://www.kansascity.com/entertainment/story/362931.html. Retrieved 2007-11-20. 
  18. ^ Carl DiOrio (2007-10-16). "ShowEast to close high on Darabont". The Hollywood Reporter. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/film/news/e3i0c86abe9c72f2e6ecf7edcca50e3a30e. Retrieved 2007-11-20. 
  19. ^ "The Mist (2007)". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=mist.htm. Retrieved 2007-11-20. 
  20. ^ "The Mist (2007)". Box Office Mojo. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=mist.htm. Retrieved 2007-12-05. 
  21. ^ "Stephen King's The Mist". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/mist/. Retrieved 2010-01-26. 
  22. ^ "Stephen King's The Mist (Cream of the Crop)". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/mist/?critic=creamcrop. Retrieved 2010-01-26. 
  23. ^ "Mist, The (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/film/titles/mist2007. Retrieved 2010-01-26. 

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Mist is a 2007 American horror film based on the 1980 novella The Mist by Stephen King.

Written and directed by Frank Darabont.

Contents

David Drayton

  • You don't understand, or you're trying really hard not to... are you guys being willfully dense?
  • What we saw was impossible. You know that, don't you? What do we say? How do we convince them [to stay inside]? Ollie, what the hell were those tentacles even attached to?

Mrs. Carmody

  • There's no defense against the will of God. There's no court of appeals in hell. The end times have come; not in flames, but in mist...

Dan Miller

  • Something in the mist took John Lee and I heard him screaming!

Ollie Weeks

  • The entire front of this store is plate glass.
  • As a species, we're fundamentally insane. Put more than two of us in a room, we pick sides and start dreaming up reasons to kill one another. Why do you think we invented politics and religion?

Dialogue

Jim: I'm sorry about the kid. We didn't twist his arm or anything!
David Drayton: Yeah, he was a fucking kid. He's supposed to be stupid. What's your excuse?

David Drayton: [referring to a clothesline] Tie this around your waist.
Brent Norton: What for?
David Drayton: It'll let us know you got at least three hundred feet.

David Drayton: You're sure there's no way I can talk you out of this?
Brent Norton: David, there's nothing out there. Nothing in the mist.
David Drayton: And if you're wrong?
Brent Norton: Then, I guess... the joke will be on me, after all.

Amanda Dumfries: You don't have much faith in humanity, do you?
Dan Miller: None whatsoever.
Amanda Dumfries: I can’t accept that. People are basically good. Decent. My God, David, we’re a civilized society!
David Drayton: Sure, as long as the machines are working and you can dial 911. But you take those things away, you throw people in the dark, you scare the shit out of them, no more rules. You'll see how primitive they can get.

External links

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