This week is The Mist (the movie version). I've never seen it, but I've heard about that ending, and to be honest it looked kinda good? Plus I heard about how it's not about the monsters outside, it's about the monsters inside- how we react when the world ends- yada yada, so I wanted to see for myself. Well I can say right at the outset- that ending delivers. Not sure I like it, in fact I know I do not, but it was a gutsy call.
This movie starts off with a bang- literally. Our hero David is an artist and is working on a movie poster when a storm hits, and a tree comes thought the window. The next day he and his wife survey the damage and it's pretty bad- their boathouse was also smashed when another tree fell on it. Oh and there's some weird mist rolling across the lake. David goes next door to talk to his asshole neighbor Norton, since the tree that fell on the boathouse belonged to him, and after a tense conversation (they don't really get along), Norton asks to tag along when David goes into town to get supplies.
On the way into town they see a bunch of Army vehicles go by. They seem to be in a hurry. Apparently there's a military base nearby where a secret Project Arrowhead is housed. Yeah that has nothing to do with the mist I'm sure. They get to town and David tries to call his wife Steff (they still had pay phones when this came out) but can't reach her. Inside the grocery store everyone's a little nervous and the power is out. David knows Sally, the cashier, and asks her to babysit in a few days. Everyone knows everyone and it's a typical small town, I guess, but you can feel the tension under the surface.
Ooh Toby Jones is in this (from Wayward Pines) as Ollie, one of the store employees. Mrs. Carmody shows up (played by Marcia Gay Harden) and clearly she's gonna be a piece of work. Some Army guys show up too, but they look a bit shifty. They're talking about leaving town when an MP shows up and tells them that all leaves are canceled, and they need to get their asses back to base. And Laurie Holden is in this as Amanda (she's also Andrea from the Walking Dead). This is looking like a Walking Dead reunion- the guy who plays Dale is in this, and so is Melissa McBride (Carol from TWD). Fun!
Oh oh a klaxon goes off in town- something is happening. Ooh look there's a mist rolling in- and there's a guy running. He's kinda bloody too. He books into the store and tells them to close the door, there's something in the mist. Oh and John Lee was "taken." Some guy says screw this and runs for his car, but just as he gets there the mist overtakes him. He screams. They close the door. All they can see is mist now. "It's death," Mrs. Carmody tells everyone. The building shakes and Carol from the Walking Dead says she has to get home to her kids, and will anyone go with her? Apparently she left the eight year old in charge of the little one. No one will go, so she tells them all off and leaves.
A nice older lady named Irene introduces David to Amanda and they all settle in. Irene and another older lady, Hattie, sort of watch Billy (David's kid) while he and Ollie sort of take charge. I say sort of, because Norton and some other guys are talking about leaving, and Amanda overhears Mrs. Carmody talking about judgment day. Tensions are simmering folks. David goes in the back to get a blanket and something is trying to get in through the loading dock. No one of course believes David, and two idiots named Jim and Myron decide to open the loading bay so someone can go out and clear the exhaust pipe for the generator. Apparently it's clogged. Uh- huh I'll bet it is.
So a bagboy named Norm volunteers to go out, but before he can a nasty ass tentacle comes in through the open loading bay and grabs him. He's toast. Ooh the tentacles are barbed and are kinda tearing the kid up, David and Ollie try to help him, but no dice. He's gone. Jim and Myron meanwhile do not help. Jim's quite the ass. And of course only after the store supervisor goes in back to see for himself do they all realize they're in trouble. They start fortifying the windows while Mrs. Carmody prays and asks to save whoever she can, but when Amanda tries to be nice to her she acts like a total bitch. She's gonna be trouble y'all.
Mrs. Carmody says it's the end times, and at one point Amanda slaps her to shut her up, as everyone is getting freaked out, but that doesn't work. Norton and a few others leave, and a biker dude goes out to try and retrieve a shotgun from one of the vehicles. Sadly only half the biker comes back. It's getting dark now and one of the army guys, Jessup, talks briefly with Sally the cashier. She asks why he never asked her out in school, and they kiss. But then weird ass bugs show up outside the store- attracted to the lights apparently, which they take forever to realize and put out- and all chaos breaks looks when the bugs break in through the glass.
Poor Sally gets stung- aww I liked her- and Amanda kills one (go Amanda!) while David manages to burn one- they're setting mops on fire to use as weapons. Sally's fucked, unfortunately, and some other dufus lights a mop but then trips and starts a fire. Oh and he's on fire. SMH. These guys are gonna burn the place down. Ooh Amanda is squirting lighter fluid on the one David is trying to burn- that might be my favorite scene of the movie so far.
This whole scene was pretty awesome and unintentionally hilarious? I mean people are stumbling around and fucking up- it looks what would really happen if a bunch of terrified people were fighting weird ass pterodactyl bugs in a crowded grocery store. I'm having fun with this movie at this juncture. David is beating the shit out of a fallen bug when another one almost gets Billy. Thank goodness Ollie is a good shot. Oh yeah Amanda had a gun, and Ollie knows how to shoot. Those two have it going on at least.
Mrs. Carmody is getting increasingly aggressive and David wisely predicts that at some point she's going to want to sacrifice someone to buy off the creatures assaulting them, as she's in full end times mode. I guess this is what they are referring to when they say the monsters inside are the worst. They're debating whether they should leave, and what Mrs. Carmody might do, and Amanda asks Dale from The Walking Dead:
"You don't have much faith in humanity, do you?"
"None whatsoever," he replies.
So some guy named Joe got all torn up and is in a bad way, so a few of them strike out for the pharmacy across the parking lot to get supplies. The pharmacy is bad, people. I mean spider things. Not cool. Mrs. Carmody doesn't want them to go, says they'll bring the creatures down on them, but Irene tells her to shut up and hits her with a can of peas. I like Irene. People in the pharmacy are webbed up, and the MP from earlier says it's their fault- meaning the military naturally. The spiders' webs meanwhile are nasty, they burn whatever they touch. But Irene kicks a little ass, using an aerosol can to burn a spider thing.
So it's all coming out. The military was researching windows into other worlds and oops, they opened a door instead. Enter the mist. Two of the soldiers have hanged themselves in the back, and Mrs. Carmody seizes on Jessup as a scapegoat. Blaming the military, she gets everyone so worked up that one of the store guys stabs Jessup- repeatedly- and then they throw him outside as a peace offering or something? He quickly becomes monster food as they all watch in horror. That's the last straw for David and he and a few others make plans to leave.
But... Mrs. Carmody is on to them, and a standoff ensues. She wants Billy as a sacrifice now, and things look grim, but then Ollie shoots Mrs. C. Game over. David and his people leave, but it's bad in the parking lot. Nooooo not Ollie- I liked him. :( And Myron goes down too- he turned out okay. So it's David, Amanda, Billy, Irene and Dale from The Walking Dead. They get in David's Land Rover and head out.
So it looks like all hope is lost, and here's where that effed up ending comes from. Spoilers here, so turn away now if you want to be surprised! Okay still here? Alright, here's what happens. They still have Amanda's gun, right? And four bullets. There are five of them. So... with no hope remaining, David shoots the other four. The thought being that they take their own way out, rather than being killed by the creatures. David intends for the monsters to get him, but literally two minutes after he gets out of the car the mist starts to thin, and he sees the military going by. They're out in force, burning anything suspicious with flamethrowers, and David realizes... it was all for nothing. They could have waited two more minutes, and survived.
It's a powerful ending, and a bit depressing frankly. Apparently Stephen King ended his story differently, but loved this ending when the director Frank Darabont came up with it. As the military goes by David even sees Carol from The Walking Dead with her two kids. So she made it! And no one went with her when she left! Hmm...
Apparently there was going to be a scene as well where survivors from the store are also seen, suggesting that David and his people should have never left, but that didn't happen. Regardless, this is a powerful film in a lot of ways, and notwithstanding the horror elements, that ending sticks