Thursday, June 12, 2008

Don't Step Into The Mist!

Have you seen the Stephen King movie, "The Mist"? If you have, I would really value your opinion and if you haven't and want to see it, STOP READING RIGHT NOW. STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER.

Because I am going to tell you everything about this movie, including the ending. And you will see why.

I had read the Stephen King novella this movie is based on and was intrigued with the premise, so I had a good idea what the story would be like. For me, there is a fine line between scary movies that scare me so badly they make me nauseous (check NO) and scary movies that just scare me a little (check YES) and the preview did not look too bad, so we called it up with On Demand and settled in for an evening of entertainment.

It starts in a small, friendly town in New England where everyone seems to know everyone else and, aside from some slight animosity to "outsiders", they seem to get along fairly well. After a bad storm in the night, many of the townsfolk held to the local grocery store to stock up. The hero of the story, David, and his son leave the wife at home as a mysterious mist starts creeping in over their lake. Once everyone arrives at the grocery store, a man comes running out of the mist, bleeding, and crying out there is something in the mist. By this time, the thick mist has filled the parking lot and it soon becomes evident that, indeed, there are things in that mist. Strange things. Things that do not belong on the Earth as we know it.

Turns out those wacky scientists who always screw something up in science fiction movies, have created a crack between dimensions and deadly creatures are flying, crawling and striding through what must be a pretty large crack. The psychology of the crowd mentality among those trapped in the grocery store is very believable and interesting to watch. Heroes and villains emerge as time passes, people are killed and everyone finally believes it is truly not a good idea to go out into that mist. A small group of our heroes decides it is time to get out of Dodge when an obsessed, bible-toting woman begins to harangue the crowd into a blood-thirsty mob, intent on a blood sacrifice to appease the creatures. But our little band manages to escape, with a few losses in the parking lot, and head out into the mist.

The novella ends at this point and leaves it up to the reader to imagine what might have happened next.

Oh, that the movie had only done that. Or at least come to a satisfactory ending. These people had left the grocery store earlier in a heroic quest to get medicine for their fallen comrades. They had stood up to a crazed mob. They had valiantly circled around the young boy to protect him from that same mob.

And now they run out of gas. They are out of hope. They have a gun with four bullets. There are five of them.

As this transpires, I kept thinking "No." "No, they are not going to shoot themselves. There is always hope. Maybe the military will come. Maybe...something. Maybe...anything. That dad is NOT going to shoot his little boy."

And then he does. He shoots them all, including his child. In a token gesture of bravery, he has not shot himself because he will face the creatures and let them kill him. He steps outside the truck.

And the mist clears. The military appears. Everything is fine.

And he has killed his child.

I was literally sick to my stomach. What is the point of this ending? To show that, even after all they have been though, life is so unfair that they will still die? Why? I understand that life is not fair and horrible things happen. I do understand that. I don't always expect a happy ending. But this is not right. I can't believe any parent would do this. Wouldn't you fight until the end? Wouldn't you protect him until it was no longer possible to do so? It was NOT hopeless.

In the movie "The Last of the Mohicans", a brave man is being burned alive by the Indians. Hawkeye runs as fast as he can to the top of the hill, takes out his gun and shoots the screaming, agonized man. He kills him because there is no hope and he is in excruciating pain.

I understand that death. I understand that reasoning. I do not understand this one.

I'm still angry about that ending.

Have you seen it? What did you think?

Check out my Herald-Leader blog post today at: On The Patio At Ramsey's Diner


Boo said...

I haven't seen it and I won't! That makes me kinda sick just thinking about it!

Alice said...

I have trouble watching anything where kids get hurt. Even that scene in 'A Beautiful Mind' where the baby is in the filling bathtub disturbs me. *shudder*

Bobbi's Book Nook said...

I agree - the story was better because it left the ending up to our imaginations! I was very unhappy with the ending of the movie.


I read the novella a long, long time ago, too. Stephen King movies are notorious for sucking and I guess this one follows the same clear path without any mist to steer it off the course of film flop heaven.

Lynn said...

Wow, thanks for the heads up. I had heard the movie was pretty good but there is no way I could have stomached that ending. I can't stand seeing kids in jeopardy as it is...and to have one actually die...senselessly...I think I might need a day or so just to recover from reading about it.

I must say I really dislike it in disaster movies when they put the token kid in danger just to play with your emotions where there is no way they would actually let the kid (or the dog) get hurt. So maybe this time they were trying to actually make good on the threat. It still seems like a terrible, downbeat ending to what was a relatively hopeful ending in the book. Bad, bad Hollywood!