Martin Carr reviews the seventh episode of The Mist…
Theological debates, hot sweat cold turkey ordeals and savage beatings in psych wards await the eager viewer in The Mist this week. Throw in some flashback sequences, electro shock therapy and school bully confessions and there is plenty to get excited about.
What became apparent over the last seven days is that not everyone was going to like this series. Stephen King purists, fanboy faithful film watchers and those who believe it should be a bigger and better budgeted production had their say. What is obvious however is the fact that detractors for one side or the other are bound to surface and find fault where none exists. One thing that these people are missing however is the brains at work beneath the surface, making interesting points in an entertaining way.
There exists amongst this cast stock characters who are guaranteed to raise heckles on certain audience members. Stereotypes are never original but remain necessary if things are to narratively tick over. How this version differs from King’s book should not be dwelt upon, but rather embraced, as every version of his work needs passing in front of the man himself. How Spike have approached this is to work on the ideas without blowing budgets.
Themes of alienation, drug addiction, attachment disorder and psychological treatments all get touched upon in varying forms, while cabin fever increases elsewhere. Psychosis remains a running theme as well as biblical retribution, acts of attrition and familial guilt. Those who are looking for real shocks, genuine fear and any amount of blood-letting should look elsewhere. The Mist in this incarnation boils down to a character piece, which is slowly building on back histories, thematic hang ups and individual experience.
Between Brian, Mia, Kevin and their companions there is developing a dynamic of shifting allegiances, fluctuating power plays and stress related behaviour. Of the three groups this one remains the most interesting and least stock in approach or execution. In the church the clash of law enforcement official with man of God and prophetic woman feels a touch jaded and done to death. Within the confines of this hospital, even with those slightly unbalanced members, events are developing in a more complex manner making episodes more entertaining.
If people just accept the limitations of this television show and embrace its vision then there is much to be enjoyed here. Fully committed performances go hand in hand with a tension filled atmosphere, which in turn leaves loose ends and cliff hangers aplenty. For anyone expecting grandiose effects, huge set pieces or any sense of scale should look elsewhere as The Mist is definitely an acquired taste.