While Frank Darabont’s The Mist, released in 2007, is considered one of the best horror movies of the 21st Century, the shocking ending has nonetheless polarized genre fans. [Considering The Mist is over a decade old, I’m not going to treat the film’s conclusion as a spoiler.] It goes without saying that the ending of The Mist is very different from most horror movies produced in America; the nihilistic conclusion seems more akin to films being produced in France and Korea during the same era. Still, Darabont was insistent that his ending remains in the final film over threats to abandon the project.
While most fans debate the necessity of David Drayton’s (Thomas Jane) final actions in terms of how it relates to Stephen King’s novella, Irish film critic Ryan Hollinger has put together a video essay examining the tragedy of The Mist that will likely change your entire perspective—it certainly did for me. Hollinger explains how the “sacrifice” of David’s son was actually called for by Mrs. Carmody (played by Marcia Gay Harden) back at the supermarket; she claimed the “expiation” was necessary to bring the plagues in the to an end, and, as soon as David complied, the fog subsided.
Related Article: It’s Drama, Not Gore, That Makes John Carpenter’s “The Things” a Terrifying Masterpiece
Hollinger delves deep into what makes The Mist so terrifying, noting that King never described the creature with more than 2 or 3 sentences. This keeps the focus on the film’s characters and the existential crisis they’re enduring. He looks at David Drayton and Mrs. Carmody without conforming to protagonist vs antagonist labels, revealing that neither is as bad or as good as he/she appears.
We’ve covered the video essays of Hollinger before, specifically explorations of 28 Days Later and John Carpenter’s The Thing. We highly recommend checking out more of his work on YouTube. Hollinger excels at getting deep below the surface of the films he examines and has an uncanny aptitude for explaining complex concepts in a way all genre fans can relate to and understand.
About Ryan Hollinger on YouTube: Taking your favourite movies, games, art and entertainment and giving them the in-depth analytical treatment that both informs and delights, like licking the contents of an Oreo before eating the biscuit with your favourite tea or coffee, you self-indulgent git.
Official Synopsis: After a powerful storm damages their Maine home, David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and his young son head into town to gather food and supplies. Soon afterward, a thick fog rolls in and engulfs the town, trapping the Draytons and others in the grocery store. Terror mounts as deadly creatures reveal themselves outside, but that may be nothing compared to the threat within, where a zealot (Marcia Gay Harden) calls for a sacrifice.
Related Article: 15 Years Later: Exploring the Beauty & Brutality of “28 Days Later”