*** Official THE MIST Discussion Thread

Inspector Hammer!

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It's really interesting reading about how the ending made all of you feel, you seem almost pleased that it made you feel sad and upset, I wish I could feel that way but I don't, in fact the ending disgusted me.

Even worse it didn't feel right, the Jane character up to that point showed no evidence of being such a weak man where mass murder (including his young son)
would be an option for him, it felt shocking for the sake of being shocking.

It's not even really that act that disturbed me, it's when the the mist lifted and the military showed up with survivors
that really pissed me off at Darabont...that was just plain f**ked up and uncalled for IMO. I would rather it had ended with Jane's act as messed up as that was in and of itself.

Yes, to answer Rhett's question to me from the review thread, the ending did ruin the entire film for me, if the ending weren't so damned sadistic I would be prepared to say that it was one of the best sci-fi/horror films in recent years but Darabont let the air out of everything that came before with his conclusion.
 

Brett_M

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Your logic is flawed. The Jane character made a promise to his son. He kept it. End of story.

It disgusted you? Good. It was supposed to. I'm a father of two and I felt like I got punched in the brain. The film blew me away -- kept me on the edge of my seat and I was in awe of the guts Darabont shows as a writer/director. No "Hollywood ending" here -- good for him. Even Stephen King said if he had thought of that ending, he would have used it.

Jane and the others lost hope -- call it a weakness if you must. Every bad thing that happens in the film is due to loss of hope.

I'm sorry that the end ruined it for you.
 

Inspector Hammer!

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Sorry, I still feel that Jane gave up too easy.

Like I said it wasn't even his act that disturbed me it was Darabont having the rescuers show up 5 minutes later. They should have ended it where he shoots everyone, gets out of the truck and is then attacked and killed by the creatures. Fade to credits.
but don't have him do something that aweful and then have it be for nothing.

It came across as an extremely bad practical joke on the audience.

People don't seem to understand that simply because an ending to a film is bold and different it doesn't automatically make it great or acceptable, Darabont could have made it different in others ways, he picked the wrong way IMO and as a result he immediately lost a majority of the audience.

I've always been of the opinion that a film is only as great as it's beginning, middle and ending and IMO this one had a great beginning, intense middle and a shitty ending.
 

Russell G

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I think the ending worked fine. Not to get this thread banned and open a can of worms, but am I the only one who saw the heavey handed allegory in the store being a snap shot of America today in the face of terrorism? Theres the religious fantatic, the ra ra conservatives who don't see the threat for what it is and Jane being the everyman (call him a liberal if you want, he didn't come off all that liberal to me) who is going to lose cause no one wins in a situation like that.

note this is how I saw it, I'm not judging anyone, and I'm not an American.
It just seemed really base and over done. not enough to ruin the movie though. I loved it and have it up there with the best of what I've seen in the theaters this year. I was loving the movie up to the ending. The fact that the ending wasn't a cop out made it all the better.

The thing too is, no one was acting rationally right? Jane was trying to, but that ending shows that even the most logical and rational people can slip too and lose hope. That's why I liked it as it made sense. And if you did see the terrorism angle, it works even better cause none of us are winning.
 

Robert Anthony

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Darabont has flat out admitted that's part of what he was doing. It is an homage to B-movies in the horror genre from the 50's and 60's, after all, and those were chock full of simplistic, sledgehammer subtle allegory. The Ants are the Reds, the Body Snatchers are the commies, that sort of stuff. Although I don't think it really breaks down along political lines that cleanly, right/left/moderate isn't the point I think he's driving at, I think its lead (in a hastily thought out direction)/follow/get run over by either of the first two. The only person inside the store at the beginning shown to have SUCCEEDED in the face of the mist is the woman who left the store, who figured those three choices were bunk and chose none of the above, and decided to get her kids.

Also, a touch that people aren't noticing--there was no discussion when the car ran out of gas. It was just ca-chunk, sputter, and then NOTHING but knowing looks. They'd discussed that before. I'm guessing they'd discussed it while they were driving. And what little hope was left in that car drained out into The Mist. Everyone was resigned the instant the car stalled out, no worried looks, no question of even trying to stretch it out. It was just "well, if we go outside, the monsters will get us. And if we stay in here, we'll slowly starve to death. We could just take the easy route, the hopeless route."

Maybe when he left the store, he was more hopeful than my first consideration. But after seeing his wife, after seeing nothing else, after seeing that giant beastie, what hope he had drained. Those people said, wordlessly, they were ready to die at the hands of that gun long before the gas ran out. They gave up hope. Drayton paid for it. If you don't see him paying for it, the point of the movie is neutered. Even if he IS the protagonist, the most decent of the main characters and the one Darabont has pretty much manipulated you into identifying with the most, he has to lose hope, and then be hollowed out for it, in order for the point of the movie to actually stab home. The fact that it WAS for nothing is the point. Because those are the kinds of false choices that hopelessness provides. Even desperate, irrational, stubborn hope is better than no hope.
 

Russell G

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There was a line about the bullets being saved for that. Also, I think the hope ran out with the gas, they never did see the end of the Mist, they were heading into it, that hopelessness. Fits to with the allegory where following dogma of any type isn't saving anyone, being human (like the woman who left early for her children) is whats going to "bring us out of the fog".
 

Chuck Mayer

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I can't agree with that human part. The very same part of humanity that drove the mother into the fog drove others into Carmody's arms. There isn't a cure for being human. The weakness comes with the divine courage. Of course we can save ourselves, just as we damn ourselves. As a race, we do both every single day. And we'll continue to do so. If Darabont is selling me otherwise, he's a fool.

And my fundamental flaw, long hinted at, is that the film ends with no closure for Drayton. It's the exact opposite of ending a porn film a split second before the money shot. It put him in the worst imaginable emotional state (whcih I accepted, even as it ripped my heart out), and then ended before he could act upon it. He doesn't sit there and cry forever. He will act on that shame and rage, probably finishing the job, and the film doesn't allow that. I didn't think it earned that level of audience spite. I'm a parent, I need to see Drayton finish it. No parent like David could live with that.

And I don't buy faceless soldiers coming out of the Mist "hope". I call it reality, which are two different things, even in this movie.

As an allegory, it's poorly formed. As an act of rage towards human weakness in the face of the unknown, sure. If he is targeting America, so to speak, then again, he's an idiot. Those flaws of human nature are prevalent in *every* society. I know he's lashing out at post 9/11...but not very cogently. As a horror film, it's nearly peerless. It establishes and maintains a brilliant, bleak, oppressing tone...without pity or peace. I applaud that. If he is trying to tell me something about society he thinks I don't know, then the film is a complete failure.
 

Robert Anthony

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Who says he's trying to tell you something you DON'T know? Most of the best stories simply reinforce what we already know. it's HOW ARTFULLY they reinforce it that gives it worth.

To me, the fact that Drayton gets no closure is the flipside of the "end it ambiguously" coin. Maybe he kills himself. Maybe he actually makes peace. It's doubtful (just as doubtful in the original short story that driving to Hartford is gonna do him any good) but there's a possibility. Hope, as it were.

I don't see how faceless soldiers coming out of the mist are "reality" either. In the face of all the unreality they saw, and the days of driving and seeing nothing but monsters that want to eat them, and the remains of people eaten, after just 2 days inside that supermarket, how was "the military is coming" any sort of reality?

I also think the loss of hope, completely, comes WHEN he grabs the gun. Maybe that's practicality, but if he doesn't grab the gun, then they're FORCED to wait in that car. And they are rescued. But he grabs that gun because he knows he's probably going to be committing mercy killings with it. Even as he's escaping, he's thinking about losing everything and making plans to see it to fruition.
 

Rhett_Y

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Sorry the ending made you not like the movie... to me it was great.. it wasn't your happy ending.. lets kiss and fade to black... this is possible what some might do...... the fact that the on coming tanks etc..... makes it that much better.. I equate this to a Shakespearean type play.. a tragedy....... with a huge dose of irony...
 

Chuck Mayer

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I didn't mean reality the way you think. I mean reality in terms of human artifice. I mean the same people who toyed with dimensional rifts are there. Does that make more sense. They aren't rescuers. They are doing damage control.
 

Russell G

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See, to me, it didn't really have to do with Daytons personal story anymore, it had to do with the group dynamic faced with the stress of the situation. Every single person in that movie acted irrationally based on what they thought was the right thing and paid for it. the only exception was the mother at the start, who I saw portrayed the more human aspect, in that she left not thinking of herself and her survival, but that of her kids. Everyone else (as I recall, been a week now) responded based on their own thoughts. It's funny too, since the Mother at the start seemed the most irrational running out that store with no idea what was outside. So it's interesting to see everyone with the ideas (Dayton and Andre Brauer character) on what is the right thing, and the people who believe the spiritual end is the right way to go end poorly, while the one running purly on human emotional instinct (selflessly protecting her children) makes it. I don't think it's an accident either that Dayton comes off as the most rational and sympathetic character either, as us in the audience want to think we would be rational and logical in that situation. It really speaks that we all are forgetting humanism in the war on terror stuff thats happening now in the world climate.

So Daytons story after being rescued doesn't really matter to me anymore, other then the dudes going to have some serious issues. Maybe he gets past it, maybe he doesn't, the more interesting story was seeing him get to that place.

too me anyways if I'm being clever and putting way too much thought into it. did I mention that I love monster movies, and those attack sequences were frickin great?? XD
 

Travis Brashear

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I think Chuck Mayer is way, way off base with his analysis, but I completely understand his feelings of repulsion, even if he and I profoundly disagree with the narrative validity of the ending. This was one of the top five most psychologically brutal films I've ever endured--I literally left the theater shaking, my legs numb--alongside THE SHINING, THE EXORCIST, SCHINDLER'S LIST and SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. Just an exhausting assault on my nerves and psyche from start to finish. It was a four-star film, a film I'm positive will be remembered in history as one of the greats of the genre, surely the greatest horror film of this decade, but at the same time, I feel like I've been raped.
 

Dion C

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Saw "The Mist" this weekend. Loved the grim, nihilistic ending. Like someone else mentioned, it reminded me of those great 70s downers. I like a film to create a mood for me (good or bad); IMO, that's the measure of a film's effect.

Unfortunately, the ending was the only thing I cared for about this film.

1) I was so disappointed to discover that the producers resisted their obvious temptation to give Marcia Gay Harden a handlebar mustache to twirl throughout the story.

On the plus side, it was refreshing that a major Hollywood production FINALLY presented a Christian character as a bile-spewing, hateful, ugly lunatic. We just don't get enough of that.

Oh, and it was awesome that they made sure to have THAT character say things like, "If I want a friend like you, I'll just squat and shit one out" and calling another woman a "bitch," among other things. Yes!!!!!

Reminded me of what was otherwise a well-made film -- "Frailty" -- in which the main character is this hardcore follower of God -- and yet continues to pepper his dialogue with using God's name in vain. Made no sense.

2) The film lost me early on, when a character presented initially as an intelligent, accomplished person (the lawyer) refused to even consider evaluating the claims made by in-store eyewitnesses. Evidence that was available a few feet away in the loading dock!

"No, I won't believe you!"

"Dude, we have PHYSICAL EVIDENCE right over there. Just look at it."

"No, it's just a juvenile practical joke you're trying to play on me."

"What?! Hey, clown, look around. Does this environment -- the mist, the terrified patrons and employees, the sirens, the bloodied outsider who burst into the store, etc. -- does any of this compel you to believe that a group of us got together post-haste to, for apparently no good reason, start laying practical jokes on people? Are you developmentally disabled...counselor?"

My fantasy dialogue, of course. But that's what I was playing in my head as those scenes with the attorney played out. It was ridiculous and unrealistic -- even in the measure of the story's fantastical environment. (Scary movies are at their scariest when reality and common sense are closely adhered components.)

3) The "creatures" were a letdown for me. I guess I wanted something grander, more malevolent as a threat. Something apocalyptic and awe-inspiring (in its magnitude and awfulness). Especially considering how far Darabont was willing to take his ending. THAT ending deserved something much more frightening before it. (Just mix a giant vat of RAID in with the mist, and you could probably dilute a lot of the danger.)

I guess, to that point, I have to concede that the creature elements were with the original story. Nonetheless, they were disappointing.

I give Darabont major kudos for the ending. I give the rest of the film a C. And I really wanted to like it.
 

Andy Sheets

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What was nihilistic about it? It's essentially follows the same themes as Darabont's other, more uplifting films but from the other side in that reinforces the importance of maintaining faith in the most dire circumstances. What happened to Drayton (and his companions) is basically what would have happened to the guy in The Shawshank Redemption if he had completely caved in before the end of the story. It's presented as a down ending, but thematically it's the very opposite of nihilism. So if you're ever in a position where you're thinking of mercy-killing someone you love, don't do it because, you know, Murphy's Law and everything...

I liked the movie overall, but I feel that it was rather long and a bit of a slog in places. Something like 1:40 could have ideal for a film like this, not 2:09.

I'd really like some kind of moratorium on wailing woman soundtracks. I was trying to concentrate on what was happening at the end and instead I kept getting distracted by all that "ooooowahhhhhhummmmmmahhhhhhhhhhhayyyyyyyyyyyyyehhh hhhhhhlalalalala...!" And it wouldn't stop. It was like having a really obnoxious theater patron in there, except this time the obnoxious person was a part of the film itself.

Really liked all the performances. Darabont has gotten himself a really nice little troupe of actors through his directorial career. Even the small parts were spot on.

Loved the creature designs (by Bernie Wrightson, IIRC), especially those skull-faced spiders.

Has it occurred to anyone that the ending actually reinforces Mrs. Carmody's fanaticism? She wanted to sacrifice the boy but was denied. Then Drayton kills him and a few minutes later he "miraculously" sees the rescue teams and the mist is dissipating. Just a thought
 

Dion C

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Andy, thematically, your position is fine (for me). I get what you are saying -- and I agree. Thematically.

My use of the word "nihilism" had more to do with the actual on-screen ACTIONS -- and how those actions made ME feel.

It was a grim close to things. It was a rejection of value statements and moral judgments (from others re: his decision), and it was a rejection and striking out at the world he currently found himself in and an absolute destruction of himself and those around him.

Hence, MY use of the word and why. Opinions can vary, of course; that one was just my take on it. :)
 

Dion C

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Dennis ~

I am, of course, aware of the Carmody character's origin. I never read "The Mist" but if her screen presentation closely mirrors King's presentation of her in his story, then so much the worse for King for what I consider to be a tired, creatively lazy, boring stereotype.

And it's certainly not like "Hollywood" is shy about altering (even improving, on very rare occasions) the creative content of adapted works.

I simply thought that the character, as written, was overboard and Harden's performance was so over-the-top as to be silly. I think it would have been much better -- in terms of creativity and realism -- to have had that character throttled back, calm, low-key and self-assured, rather than practically frothing at the mouth. It took me out of the movie, along with the other issues I posted.

Just me. I certainly don't begrudge others for whom the film was more enjoyable. And I still feel the ending alone was almost worth the ticket price.
 

Dennis Castro

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I agree with you about the ending and so does Stephen King. This is a quote from a blurb that I read. Apparently he loves the ending.

"It is the most shocking ending ever and there should be a law passed stating that anybody who reveals the last 5 minutes of this film should be hung from their neck until dead."
 

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