Tonight I went to see The Mist. I've been waiting for this flick for YEARS. I remember reading that Darabont had the rights to it around the time of Shawshank Redemption's release, and if I remember correctly, I did a little jig.
Yes, the news was definitely good.
So, was it worth the wait? Yes and no. The story and acting are fine ... even the extra 5-10 minutes added on to give the story a more palatable (for some) ending worked fairly well (though, I prefer the Novella's ending). And I give it a solid B, nearly a B+.
What didn't work so well?
The things in the mist. First, there wasn't the variety and sliminess of the things in the novella. It's been a long time since I read the novella, but I seem to remember a little more variety. Second, the computer generated effects were definitely not top rate. And finally, they just weren't solid enough. They almost never felt like they were really in the scene with the actors. During some of the most intense sequences, I found myself noticing that the creatures really didn't look like they were actually touching/biting/attacking an actor...or, I found myself wondering how they directed the actor's eyes and actions during some of the more frenetic scenes. All things you don't want to be thinking while watching a horror flick.
There were so few actual props that by the end, I found myself longing for the rubber-suited critters of a bygone era...the kind that you had to expertly light so that the seams and the zippers didn't show.
And that's part of the problem here. A lack of shadows. A lack of solidity. Too often the creatures were really well lit and I don't remember them casting or having any real shadows. I wasn't looking for them, but I think the nuances of light and shadow were missing. They just never looked real, and the designs themselves were creepy in an action figure sort of way. Yeah, that's it. They looked more like toys than real, nether void beasties. And that was a real shame.
Still, it's one of the best horror flicks we've had in a while. Go see it, but don't expect to get really creeped out by the things in the mist.