Why do I always expect more when I see a movie based on a story from Stephen King? There are approximately 50 movies and miniseries that are based on either novels or short stories written by King, and by my count, there are only three of them that should be considered either very good or classics. (The Shining, The Deadzone, and 1408). And yet, I still watch these movies with an air of excitement, hoping that I can experience the same enjoyment that I feel while reading his book, especially his earlier works. But inevitably, I come away disappointed. Whether this is because his material is not set up to be made into movies, I'm blind to how bad his books are, or movie companies don't find the right talent to develop the stories, I don't know. However, I do know that the Mist gets lost in its own fog of mediocrity.
I had read the short story when I was younger, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Stories dealing with the apocalypse, the end of the world, had always captivated my imagination, and the Mist was no exception. I could picture a world where survivors would be holed up in a supermarket, fighting both the monsters outside and each other inside. A movie that followed the story would not depend on plot twists to keep the audience engaged, but would have to depend on character development and genuine scares. Horror movies that have those characteristics can overcome a lot of other problems. However, this movie did the exact opposite, eschewing character development and genuine scares, for an inane plot twist and monsters that would not scare an 8 year old. The director, Frank Darabont, avoids two of the common pitfalls found in most horror movies today. He doesn't rely on gore to gross out the audience, and the characters are reasonably believable, even if a lot of the dialogue is completely over the top. However, the quality of the CGI work detracts from the movie's ability to immerse the audience. I don't ask for the quality of monster found in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, but please give me something that doesn't scream fake to me. The strength of a movie depends on its ability to immerse the viewer into the world it creates. When I stop watching the movie, and start thinking about how phony the monsters are, the movie has failed. There is an over reliance on CGI work in Hollywood today, and the Mist falls into that trap. If you can't spend a significant amount of money on CGI, you might be better off creating your monsters the old fashioned way.