Is The Mist scary? A dystopian fantasy with deconstructed morals

the mist

When it comes to imagining unspoken horror and monsters, Stephen King doesn’t disappoint! This film released in 2007 is an adaptation of Stephen King’s novella that gives one of the pessimistic story endings of all times in a loosely wrapped up plot. The film relates a story where a strange mist engulfs the area and the residents are trapped inside a supermarket, scared and scarred for their lives. 

But how Scary is the film?

Caution: Spoilers ahead!

The film has a plethora of eye-closing graphic scenes

Acclaimed director Frank Darabont doesn’t hold back in bringing some very graphic violent scenes to enhance the horror nature of the film.

The viewer first sees this violence when a tentacle comes to wound Norman, a bagboy of the supermarket. Although the purposes of the tentacles haven’t been divulged, it manages to claw into half of Norman’s face in a very graphic sense.  

It should also be noted that however promising and thrilling the film is, the graphics are borderline mediocre with blood looking like a pasta sauce while the tentacles could be drawn better by a 10-year-old graphic designer. 

Perhaps the most graphic scene comes when the group sees a military police officer strapped in a web with spider-like alien eggs inserted into his body. The eggs finally explode, killing him and releasing an army of small alien creatures. 

Other graphic scenes include very realistic monsters and a girl getting stung by a bug, inflaming her face to twice her size and killing her. 

The film has been ‘Rated R’ for violence, terror and gore, and language, meaning people under the age of 17 should be accompanied by an adult. 

The film shows the destruction of human morals in a world of chaos

Underlying all the graphic violence and the monsters is a very subtle display of a deconstructed morality in the film. The film sees its characters arguing and disagreeing about what they should do next to the point where people start killing each other. The telling moment of this sub-plot comes from Dave’s speech in convincing the group that they should act swift;

“… when you are thrown to the dark, you scare the shit out of them. No more rules, you’ll see how primitive they can get. As a species we are fundamentally insane, put more than two us in a room, we pick sides and start dreaming up reasons to kill one another. Why do you think we invented politics and religion?”

This subplot gets further strengthened when the crowd trapped inside the supermarket starts listening to Mrs. Carmody, a radical Catholic who believes in the Old Testament God. Though she is ignored in the beginning, she gets hailed as a cult leader towards the end after her extreme ideas. 

Her extreme ideas make her followers sacrifice one human trapped inside, as a peace offering to the monsters. These extreme situations constantly remind the viewer of how a society can break down with moral ideals when in crisis. 

The ending is depressing to the core

The film ends in the most pessimistic way possible. After Mrs. Carmody suggests offering Dave’s son to the monsters, the two groups fight with each other and Ollie manages to shoot Mrs. Carmody. This small group goes outside and 5 of them including Dave, his son, Amanda, and two other adults manage to get into the jeep and start driving. 

Dave goes to their house, only to see his wife killed and glued to the door. They decide to go south till the fuel runs out. Upon driving they see huge monsters lurking around, a repercussion of a government testing scheme gone wrong which had left an entrance open to an alternate dimension. 

Once the fuel runs out, they decide to kill themselves rather than succumb to the creatures. Dave kills everyone in the vehicle, including his son, but runs out of a bullet to kill himself. 

Visually and emotionally distraught, Dave wonders outside only to see army tanks and personnel coming in numbers to fight the monsters, ending the film in the most disappointing way possible.  

The writer Stephen King reveals his thoughts on the ending while speaking with Yahoo news;

“When Frank was interested in The Mist, one of the things that he insisted on was that it would have some kind of an ending, which the story doesn’t have — it just sort of peters off into nothing, where these people are stuck in the mist, and they’re out of gas, and the monsters are around, and you don’t know what’s going to happen next. When Frank said that he wanted to do the ending that he was going to do, I was totally down with that. I thought that was terrific. And it was so anti-Hollywood — anti-everything, really! It was nihilistic. I liked that. So I said you go ahead and do it.”

The Mist is a dystopian portrayal of a world in anarchy. Trapped in close quarters, the film reveals how humanity can turn against each other in split seconds, losing all morals which is perhaps the scariest part of this thriller.