Frank Darabont's The Mist rolls in as strong as a fogbank but, like a typical marine layer, eventually just fades away. Taken from Stephen King's 1985 novella, the film tells the tale of David (Thomas Jane), his son and a collection of Northeastern townies who take refuge in a grocery store after a mysterious haze settles onto the streets, claiming anyone who ventures into it.
Essentially a B-movie with solid production values, The Mist has epic aspirations, some of which it manages to fulfill. In addition to the excellent pacing and cinematography of the film's first hour, the ensemble cast shines, portraying a humanity that is all too rare in this current age of horror-porn fetishism.
Sadly, Thomas Jane is the wrong choice as the lead-his stiffness glares in contrast to the rest of the cast-and two-thirds in, the movie begins to take itself far too seriously. Sure, Darabont specializes in overwrought theorization and existentialism, but all we really want is to be scared. And while Marcia Gay Harden is superb as the Bible-thumping nutcase Mrs. Carmody, Jane's action-hero stoicism would be a better fit in a different picture. As it stands, The Mist is a near-success, but Darabont doesn't have the foggiest idea how to finish a great start.