Mist, Stephen King's The
R
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: -4

Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Andre Braugher, Laurie Holden, Toby Jones. Horror. Written & directed by Frank Darabont.

FILM SYNOPSIS: David Drayton and his young son Billy are among a large group of terrified townspeople trapped in a local grocery store by an otherworldly mist. David is the first to realize that there are things lurking in the mistdeadly, horrifying thingscreatures not of this world. Survival depends on everybody in the store pulling togetherbut is that possible, given human nature? As one character points out, when machines and 911 no longer work, civilization goes out the door, and humanity resorts to a barbaric nature. Amid the group is a fanatical religious woman who convinces half the group that this is the end times brought on them by their wicked ways and that human sacrifices must be made in order to keep the creatures at bay. As reason crumbles in the face of fear and panic, David begins to wonder what terrifies him more: the monsters in the mistor the ones inside the store, the human kind, the people who until now had been his friends and neighbors. In this tale of terror from master storyteller Stephen King, the thin veneer of civilization is stripped away, the masks are discarded, and the true horror is revealed as us.

PREVIEW REVIEW: It was an interesting experience unsettling, actually to feel the palpable rage the audience felt toward the fanatical religious woman in the film, who Im sure many non-churchgoers would associate with Christianity. The nutty woman quoted from Old and New Testaments, but behaved without any regard for Christs teachings. She is completely unloving, and determined to divide the group rather than draw them to Christ. And when she meets her doom, well, I havent heard such an audience approval since the demise of Darth Vader.

If you misquote from any book, taking its teachings out of context, whether its a science book, a car manual, or the Bible, youll never come to the right conclusion. Yet this misdirection is all thats done with this character. Viewing Marcia Gay Harding play the part of this mean-spirited prophetess, I kept wondering why she chose the role? Did she think it was a way of putting down fanatics? Was she unaware that it might insult Christians? Did she wonder if this misrepresentation of Gods nature might be considered blasphemous to the Creator? Exactly what was she thinking?

As for the film, its well structured, gory and unsettling, elements horror enthusiasts enjoy, but I wouldnt call it smart. Whats more, its hard not to read the authors intent as an attack on religious beliefs and a disdain for the military, which he blames for bringing this trauma upon the world (though he never gives a satisfactory explanation as to how they are responsible). The finale is a tribute or knock off of Rod Serlings Twilight Zone, but it lacks the pithiness or profundity of that programs finest endings. The characters do stupid things. The monsters are CG generated and look it. And the religious woman, the films true villain, is one-dimensional and foul mouthed, the actress coloring the part with cartoonish traits of lunacy and fire and brimstone ferocity.

Horror films can be good vs. evil parables used to enlighten. This film, however, seems to be just another outlet for an artists dislike of Christianity and, of course, the military, which he paints here as cowardly and evil.

DVD Alternatives: War of the Worlds. Nothing man can do seems to stop a Martian invasion. Ah, but God in His infinite wisdomBased on a story by H.G. Wells, this superior sci-fi actioneer is eerie and frightening, but it also contains a positive message. Dont miss the ending narration by Sir Cedric Hardwicke.

Or:

Signs. Farmer Mel Gibson discovers crop circles on his land. Soon the world is crawling with hostile aliens. Like Hitchcock, director M. Night Shyamalan builds tension through restraint. Its not what we see, but what we imagine that scares the Jujubes out of us. Besides being an arm-grabbing suspenseful thriller, Signs is an equally touching family drama. We get to know this broken family as they cope with the traumatic loss of a wife and mother. There is an intimacy in both script and presentation that causes us to care for these people. Added to the drama and suspense is the storys subtext about a man losing, then regaining his faith. The film also has an intriguing take concerning coincidence in our daily lives. Do things happen by chance or do they serve to develop our nature? Shyamalans film is about finding our way or finding our way back.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: MGM

Summary
Crude Language: Lots of obscenity-laced arguments.
Obscene Language: After 50 uses of the f-word and as many s-words I gave up counting; lots of yelling and emoting, using these words to confer frustration, fear and anger.
Profanity: Around 15 misuse of Gods name and Christs. The expression oh my God or variations of it are scattered throughout.
Violence: Lots of gruesome, gory and in your face violence, including human bodies being torn apart by giant bug-like creatures, fighting among the humans, and three suicides, two by soldiers, who hang themselves rather than face the battle with the creatures; etc. Blood: Oh, a whole lot of blood. We see the lower half of a body once a creature has bitten off the top half. Other such gross-outs.
Sexual Intercourse: A young couple kiss, but nothing more.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None
Other: None
Running Time: 100 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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