« The Silence of the Lambs | Main | Minor Adjustments »

Stephen King: The Mist

I think I can accurately review this one because I’ve read the book and seen the movie.  The book was great.  The movie, not so much.  Let me correct that actually, the ending of the movie was terrible.

The whole point of the book I think is that when something deadly happens and people are trapped in a situation, they do very bad things to survive.  Instinct kicks in and they start following someone or some believe, causing all reason and law to leave the room.  Obviously King also focused on the creatures outside the grocery store, and the descriptions were really scary, but I think it was the humanity that made the story what it was.

Not so in the movie.  They didn’t even really include the scariest things, at least not in the way they were described in the book.  I know you can’t watch a movie and judge it compared to a book, I realize that some things don’t work on screen, but I don’t know, to me it just seemed like a cheap scare.  The way the tentacles and the spider-things were described in the book, I was scared for days afterwards.  Seriously, books never scare me, but this one did, I had all these plans for where I would go in case a mist covered my town.  I know that’s a little crazy, but I am not taking any chances.  I also have Zombie Evacuation Plans, but that’s for another post.  I think the reason books are often scarier than movies is that it’s all in your head.  You can use your imagination to make it as scary as you want.  But when you see it on a screen, it’s just there, and that’s it.  And when it’s over, it’s over.  With a book, it ruminates in your mind for days or weeks or years, but a movie ends and it’s gone.  Maybe it’s not the same for everyone, but that’s how I feel about it.

Not that the movie was bad.  It had some great moments, and I actually didn't hate the actress who played Mrs. Carmody, Marcia Gay Harden, who I always hate on film.  Her haircut bothers me.  Is that a legitimate reason to hate an actress?  I like to think so.  The other actors I didn't care about, except that badass old lady, she was a feisty little thing and I loved her for it.  The kid who got eaten by the tentacles was pretty good too, but everyone else was kind of throwaway.

SPOILER ALERT

Now to the ending:  In the book, the fact that there was no real ending was what made it so scary.  The uncertainty and the whole atmosphere, the huge mammoth beast freaked me out.  They included it in the movie, but I don't really know how to feel about it.  It was weird and scary, but not for the same reasons.  Humans have this weird fear about things we don't understand, which works well in this book, but I don't think it really translated well to the screen.  That's just me though.

Now the thing that pissed me off and ruined the whole movie for me.  The ending in the movie was ridiculous.  Yes, there was closure, but is that really the kind of closure people want?  The main character shoots all the other characters in order to "save them" from a horrible death (including his son, since it's a family movie), which in itself, sure, is a brave thing to do, but what a loss of hope for the audience.  And seconds later the military rolls in with tanks and planes?  I'm sorry, but they would have heard them much earlier and they could have easily been saved.  I felt drained after that, unhappy and disappointed.  That's not how I like to feel during horror movies.  I think what they were going for was a Night of the Living Dead ending (which pissed me off to no end, but in kind of a good way) because being trapped in the grocery store is pretty similar to being trapped in a house, with the power plays and roles and whatnot.  A lofty goal, and not quite met.  That's the real problem with this movie, it aims high and doesn't quite make it.  Stephen King isn't high literature, have fun with it.  Be like Kathy Bates in Misery.  But don't be a dirty-birdie, because that bitch will kill you.

END OF SPOILERS

 

Stephenie Meyer Update: http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20217628,00.html

Thank you, EW and Jennifer Reese, for understanding.