The Mist, I’m pleased to report, is a fairly cracking little horror pic. Set in small town Maine (of course – it’s a Stephen King story) in the aftermath of a ferocious storm, the good townsfolk have hurried to the local store for supplies and repair materials. But across the lake, from the general direction of the top secret military base (of course – see above), comes a rolling mist that envelops the crowd of hapless shoppers. And then things turn bloody.
As a movie, The Mist works on so many different levels. There’s a great ensemble cast. The action, when it happens, is quick and brutal, the monsters are ferocious, implacable, otherworldly, the CGI is spare and beautiful, but there’s enough restraint to punctuate both action and dialogue with some terrific, pregnant silences. There’s never any real doubt that the humans inside are facing a dire and overwhelming threat. And yet The Mist is as much a lesson in group dynamics as anything, and Marcia Gay Harden’s Religious Crazy is as scary and pathological as any of the monsters that come out of the fog. And the end of the film – it’s SO not Hollywood. If you haven’t been short-changed by the trailer, I challenge you to guess which of the neat cross section of survivors are left standing.
In spite of the Maine setting, The Mist filmed in Shreveport, Louisiana – no doubt those incentives beckoned again – and it does nicely for a kind of Anytown, USA. Louisiana brands such as Zapp’s potato chips and the Caddo Parish Fire Department crop up throughout, and whilst the main supermarket interior was filmed at the Shreveport StageWorks Studios on a 12000 sq ft set, the exteriors were shot in nearby Vivian, at Tom’s Market from what I can ascertain.