The DVD of the movie version of Stephen King’s The Mist came out this week. I think it is interesting that Stephen King is such a brilliant writer, yet his work does translate to the screen. It is rare that a good book can become a good movie. I think the key is the remarkable sympathy in Stephen King’s prose. I find it difficult to read his work because his characters are so likable and understandable. And then, of course, horrible things tend to happen to them, it being horror and all. Having horrible things happen to bad people can produce a certain schadenfreude, but watching bad things happen to people you like, people who make sense to you, can be painful and sad. King seems to have a unique comprehension of the human condition, which allows him to make people see what makes others tick in a sympathetic light. You always know why a Stephen King character would do the things they do and there is a certain strong and unusual comfort and appeal in that.
The movie version of the novel The Mist maintains a good sense of tension, as terrified townfolks try to figure out what is menacing them from inside the fog and try to make sense of why monsters would be after them. As neighbor turns on neighbor, The Mist asks the age old question of who the true monsters are. Bonus points for creepy religious zealotry. Triple word score for casting Emmy award-winner Andre Braugher, known for his role as Det. Frank Pembleton in Homicide Life on the Street, as Brent Norton.
Writer/director Frank Darabont has also done the successful adaptations for Stephen King’s The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption, Nightshift Collection Volume One: The Woman in the Room, and a variety of other genre films based on things besides Stephen King stories. He also directed the pilot of my favorite canceled show from this past year, Raines, starring Jeff Goldblum as a high-functioning insane detective.
For some interesting behind-the-scenes info about The Mist, you can check out this video shot at Comic Con by the good folks at Dread Central.