The Mist

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
    The mist poster.jpg

    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 work and had been interested in adapting The Mist for the big screen since the 1980s. The film revolves around several members of a small town community who find themselves trapped in the local supermarket when, following a violent thunderstorm, a thick unnatural mist envelopes the town. While tensions arise within the group, the survivors face vicious attack from abnormal creatures prowling in the mist.

    The film features an ensemble cast including Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden, Toby Jones, Andre Braugher, 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.

    Not to be confused with Miguel de Unamuno's novella Mist.

    Tropes used in The Mist include:
    • Adaptation Expansion: There is an extra scene in which someone is killed and given to the monsters as an offering, of which Stephen King said he should have thought of it himself when writing the story.
    • All Webbed Up: Done rather effectively with the spider-like monsters in the pharmacy. They're made of acid.
    • Exclusively Evil: None of the alien animals are apparently herbivorous.
    • Apocalypse How: Depending on how far the mist traveled across the world, the novella and movie both depict an awful regional catastrophe, at least, and possibly anything ranging from a biosphere extinction to the complete annihilation of the fabric of the Universe. At the end of the film, a heavily-armed military clean-up crew is moving in and clearing the mist, implying a regional rather than worldwide catastrophe. In the radio play version at the very end over the radio from the rest of the country you hear: "Death comes. Death comes for all of us." This is also the last words heard from the Arrowhead project, which is where the Mist came from in the first place. Even Darker and Edgier. The original novella ends with all of New England, at least, pulled into the mist, and the heroes left with one slender reed of hope.
    • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Near the end, some of the monsters grow... big. In the novella, the heroes nearly run into the footprint of one - and it engulfs the entire road. They see it earlier, and it has some rather large bird-like things hanging from its back.
    • Attack of the Monster Appendage: When the men try to fix the generator they're attacked by a bunch of tentacles, overpowered and dragged into the mist.
    • Badass Grandma: Irene Reppler.
    • Belief Makes You Stupid: the entire point of the movie is to show how most people would believe any notion, no matter how crazy it sounds on paper, and commit any atrocity when put in a sufficiently incomprehensible and dangerous situation.
    • Better to Die Than Be Killed: It backfires. Oh boy, does it backfire.
    • Big Bad: Despite all the Eldritch Abominations outside the store, the biggest threat turns out to be Mrs. Carmody.
    • Black Blood: One trailer retouches the blood on the face of a man who enters the store for shelter.
    • Body Horror: A very prominent example in the pharmacy; the reason that one of the men in that place is still alive is because he is serving as a nursery to several hundreds of infant spider creatures.
    • Boom! Headshot!: See Never Mess with Granny, below.
    • Bottomless Magazines: Averted to tragic effect. Amanda only had twelve bullets for her gun, and only twelve shots are fired during the course of the movie.
    • Cassandra Truth: In the original story, when the main character hears the monster outside of the storage room, several people refuse to believe that anything is out there. This, of course, leads to someone getting killed. Even then, there is a group of people who don't want to think that there are monsters in the mist. It takes them going outside and, of course, being eaten for everyone to figure out that something is a
    • Cool Old Lady: Irene, the lady who beans Mrs. Carmody with a can and torches a spider monster.
    • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Not so much a moron in this instance, but meek, unassuming assistant manager Ollie Weeks proves that he's actually pretty handy with a pistol, much to the surprise and unease of his boss.
    • Cruel Twist Ending
    • Death By Pragmatism: The film goes way past the original story with this. About three different scenarios go something like this:

    David: We're going to go do X to help everybody
    Carmody: You can't do that! It's blasphemy/sin/death!
    David and friends try to do something proactive anyway and end up completely screwed over

      • The pragmatic characters who try to help themselves are wrong all the time and mostly end up dead, and Mrs. Carmody predicts everything right.
        • Another egregious example was that woman who went out into the mist at the beginning to save her kids. She somehow ends up surviving with them.
    • Deliberately Monochrome: The DVD includes an extra copy of the movie in black and white.
    • Developing Doomed Characters: Averted; things get bad pretty quickly.
    • Downer Ending: And HOW. Stephen King himself, who created the original short story The Mist, was shocked by the ending, and wished he had come up with it himself.
    • Driven to Suicide: The two soldiers trapped in the supermarket hang themselves giving credence to the idea that the mist was caused by a secret government experiment. In the film, a third is left alive to try and explain the situation. Also, several people in the supermarket commit suicide by overdose. Also in the movie, the group of survivors plan to kill themselves to avoid being eaten by the creatures in the mist. This ends very badly.
      • Heroine Amanda Dumfries, who has been looking after Billy, discovers her friend Hattie has committed suicide by overdose after almost getting Billy killed during the monster insect attack.
    • Dying Like Animals: Bats, then lemmings.
    • Eaten Alive: the main cause of death in the movie.
    • Eldritch Abomination: They are all over the movie!
    • Expy: Half Life was heavily inspired by the book, so many places and things from the book have their own versions in the game. For example, Black Mesa is Arrowhead Base. Many of the creatures in the book were adapted to Half-Life as well.
    • Fog of Doom
    • The Fundamentalist: Mrs. Carmody takes this Up to Eleven.
    • Gainax Ending: The book.
    • Genre Savvy: David, especially when he's trying to warn some of the store patrons about what he heard on the other side of the loading dock. "What do you think is going on here? Are you people dense?"
    • Gentle Giant: The "Impossibly Tall Creature", a skyscraper-sized monster that appears at the end. Well, at least it doesn't instantly attack the humans' car..
    • Giant Enemy Crab: What finally manages to take out Ollie the assistant manager, who stands around like an idiot despite being entirely competent throughout the rest of the film.
      • His repeated line, " I killed her." a few moments earlier suggests he's in shock, and wasn't paying attention.
    • Giant Spider
    • Gory Discretion Shot: The scene at the end of the film where David shoots his son and the other three passengers. Then you hear a scream of pure anguish Narm anguish.
    • Government Conspiracy: Although it is never stated outright, the secretive Arrowhead Project at the Shaymore military base is believed by most of the characters to be the cause of the disaster.
    • Half the Man He Used To Be: Was that shotgun really worth it?
    • Harbinger of Impending Doom: The first guy who runs, bleeding, into the store.
    • Hate Sink: Mrs. Carmody. Big time.
    • Holier Than Thou: Mrs. Carmody.
    • A House Divided: Roughly half the cast are more interested in bickering with each other than actual survival.
    • Humans Are the Real Monsters: If they get scared enough, humans become downright monsters, which is actually the point of the whole story. The "monsters" from the mist are just animals (Granted dangerous and alien ones) doing what comes naturally.
      • As Ollie calmly illustrates: "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."
    • Idiot Ball: When in close proximity to a monster, the standard reaction seems to be to stand there, expressionless, as it either charges at you or sneaks up behind you.
      • Possibly because they're terrifying as fuck, and usually the stock-still-staring occurs when they see a new monster or encounter one for the first time.
    • It Got Worse: The last ten minutes or so. Also, the time spent in the store with Mrs. Carmody gathering followers and growing more influential and more dangerous.
    • Jerkass: Several characters in the store, mainly Jim and Brent. But the ultimate one has to be Mrs. Carmody, a horrid religious bitch who slowly goes from a mere annoyance to pure evil.
    • Karmic Death: Mrs. Carmody's very well-deserved date with two .44 magnum bullets near the end.
    • Kill It with Fire: Fire is very effective against the monsters. A torch takes down one of the pterodactyl monsters, Irene uses an aerosol flamethrower to kill a spider monster, and the military uses flamethrowers to clear away the mist at the end.
    • Knight Templar: Mrs. Carmody again.
    • Large Ham: Marcia Gay Harden takes the cake for this. She takes a religious woman and makes her go from sane to insane and it works. Also note that Harden is playing VERY against type.
    • Lawful Stupid: Every member of Mrs Carmody's cult.
    • Mama Bear: Call her what you will, but the woman in the beginning who leaves the store alone proves she is one. Could you leave your young children alone without trying to get back to them? Oh and she survives and rescues her kids.
    • Moral Myopia: Mrs. Carmody is shot by a good guy after commanding her flock to sacrifice a young boy to the monsters that invaded. (Being cooped up in a Walmart for a week with monsters outside will make you try anything.) The response from the flock: "You murdered her!"
    • My God, What Have I Done?: And how.
      • When her cult starts to attack the surviving military officer, you can see Mrs. Carmody's shocked expression basically saying this, possibly her one moment of true sanity in the whole film... and then it melts away as she turns around and orders him thrown to the monsters as a sacrifice.
    • Never Mess with Granny: The elderly school teacher who clocked Mrs. Carmody in the face with a can of peas - and then said there was plenty more where that came from. King writes awesome old people.
      • Not only that, but she also fries a FREAKING GIANT ACID-SPITTING SPIDER with a lighter and a can of bug-spray, all the while having a facial expression saying "I'll show YOU!" in that way that only old ladies can say. Most. Badass. Granny. EVAR.
        • Nobody plays the old lady with more balls than you'll ever have better than Frances Sternhagen.
    • No Ending: The book, lampshaded.
    • Ominous Fog: The entire setup.
    • One-Woman Wail: The last ten minutes or so. Incidentally, the track used is "The Host of Seraphim" by Dead Can Dance, who provided most of the One-Woman Wail in the film that popularized it, Gladiator.
    • Only Sane Man: David, to begin with at least.
    • Pet the Dog: A minor one, but the Cult evidently let the Manager back inside after he got separated from the others, despite the fact that his buddies killed their leader.
    • Police Are Useless: Subverted in the worst possible way.
    • Religion of Evil: Mrs Carmody's interpretation of how one should be a Christian.
    • Revised Ending: The book simply ends with the survivors getting into their car and driving across a Mist-shrouded New England, with only a slender reed of hope to follow. In the movie, the lead character kills his son and the people he is traveling with to spare them the pain of being killed by the monsters then steps out into the fog to be killed himself, because he has no bullets left in his gun. Just then, the military shows up and destroys the mist. David doesn't take this well.
      • As noted, King approved of this change, and said he should have done it in the original story.
    • Shout-Out: David is painting Roland of Gilead, from Stephen King's opus The Dark Tower, when the storm hits. The monsters, and the implications of the Arrowhead Project also seem similar to the Todash monsters in that series.
      • Another design in the room is that of the poster of John Carpenter's The Thing (1982). Shouldn't come as a surprise that he directed a similar movie called The Fog (1980).
      • The line "My life for you," spoken by Mrs. Carmody, has been said by a number of villainous characters in the Dark Tower books. Most notably Trashcan Man in The Stand.
      • And that siren that goes off as the fog comes rolling in sounds similar to one that went off every time creepy stuff was about to go down in another movie about a town shrouded in mist and filled with monsters. It's likely (although not confirmed) that the original novella influenced the game. *(Actually, such town whistles are common in rural areas, there is still one in my town that goes off not only in emergencies, but at 9 pm every night to announce curfew.)
      • The dead creatures liquefy in the same way as the "things" in From a Buick 8, another work by King.
      • The painting used on the CD cover of Pans Labyrinth in the studio.
    • Skyward Scream: David, at the very end.
    • Soundtrack Dissonance: As noted in One-Woman Wail, the survivors' drive away from the supermarket across the misty, web-entangled New England landscape—and under a gigantic Eldritch Abomination—is set to Dead Can Dance's "The Host of Seraphim", making it even more haunting. And then it starts again when David sees the Army coming in through the mist after he just shot his son and companions.
    • Space Whale Aesop: YMMV as to whether the ending constitutes this.
      • Or you might not see the ending as an aesop at all. The only real moral you can choke out of it is "shit happens," or maybe "It never rains but it pours"
    • Straw Vulcan: Norton and his group of skeptics who leave the store because they don't believe there are any monsters in the mist. Lets back up a step. If the skeptics are right about the mist being natural and stay in the store then the weather will blow over in a few hours to a day or someone will come by looking for the grocery store and update them on the situation. They are on their way after a short delay, at most a minor inconvenience. If the other groups are right about the mist and there are monsters outside the best bet for survival is not to go outside to be picked off by monsters. The risk analysis of the situation, however low the probability of lethal monsters, would point to staying in the well stocked grocery store and not wandering off. So of course they choose the 'rational choice' after concluding there are no monsters immediately decide to leave.
      • In the novella, David thinks that Norton is, at some level, committing deliberate suicide.
    • The Cavalry Arrives Late: Possibly the cruelest example in film history. Made worse by the fact that they were driving away from the advancing Army. The Cavalry was minutes behind them the entire time.
    • The Soulsaver: let's just say that Mrs. Carmody is not the kind of person who knocks at your door asking for a few minutes of your time to talk about Jesus. Well, alright, she does offer you a chance to repent and join her. If you refuse, however, she has... a very extreme opinion about what to do with heathens when The Lord Almighty is pissed off.
    • Too Dumb to Live: Just about everyone. Neighbor Brent Norton takes the cake. Disregarding David's and his own common sense to walk straight outside into the creepy fog. The result shouldn't be surprising. Subverted, however, in that the absolute dumbest among them ends up surviving - perhaps a karmic reward for her misguided calling-out of the other townsfolk for their understandable refusal to walk out into the mist with her to accompany her to her house.
      • Although that last one might fall into YMMV territory - the instinct and need to find and protect her children would certainly be powerful, and there have been any number of occasions in real life where it's led people to override or ignore their instinct for self-preservation. Walking out into The Mist might be dumb, but she had a pretty good reason to do it, unlike the Norton brigade.
        • Not to mention she seemed to know what she was getting into, and didn't care.
    • Vagina Dentata: The tentacle monster's mouth.
    • What Happened to the Mouse?: Carmody's cult.
      • The cult was likely saved by the army, given they had no intention of leaving the store
    • Wilhelm Scream: The infamous scream can be faintly heard amidst the man's other screams as the spider monsters mutilate him in the mist during the escape attempt from the store near the movie's end.