Horror fans are among the most passionate film-goers because, even when a movie doesn't really work, they look out for the moments that do. The Mist, an adaptation of the Stephen King novella from The Shawshank Redemption writer/director Frank Darabont, has its share of impressive pieces.
But the movie runs too long to make those bits worthwhile. When civilians in a small-town grocery store barricade themselves inside due to an extremely thick surrounding mist, it's a great setup, because it invites curiousity. Darabont uses the confined setting to establish a clash of personalities, while examining the fragility of hope.
It's a character piece that paints everyone in two dimensions. Artist-hero (Thomas Jane) tries to keep things civil, while a religious nut (Marcia Gay Harden) converts the uneducated working class into red-state sheep preparing for God's judgement.
Yes, it's Hollywood doing its preachy one-note liberalism thing again, making thinking liberals feel embarrassed in the process. The ham-fisted self-importance of The Mist continue into its forced shocker of a finale. Darabont strays from King's text here, modelling his ending on the weird conclusion of The Blue Lagoon. Its tragedy is so out of character for these characters, it has almost no impact.