Review in a Hurry: Writer-director Frank Darabont hits every color in the feel-bad rainbow in this powerful adaptation of one of Stephen King's scariest works. We've got murder, prejudice, agonizing death, insanity, mob rule and human sacrifice. Oh, and that's just the people—there are monsters, too.
The Bigger Picture: Thomas Jane plays David Drayton, an artist living in one of those quaint little New England towns where nearly every Stephen King story is set. He's working on the movie poster for The Dark Tower—King geeks will know how cool that is—when a giant storm blows in, knocks out the power and generally shuts down the whole area. While Drayton and his son are at the local supermarket stocking up on supplies, a weird mist moves in, blotting out everything...and then the feces meets fan.
There are things in the mist. Anyone who steps outside is turned into a few dozen pounds of raw chuck, as Drayton and the other shoppers soon find out. They're trapped, and it's not too long before the things out there decide to search inside for some human-flavored jerky bits.
Jane goes past his action-figure looks to show us a decent man trying to keep it together in a hellish situation. Ollie (Toby Jones), the meek assistant manager, turns out to be the one with nerves of steel. Unfortunately, as good guys, they're in the minority. Sanity, in the form of Andre Braugher as Drayton's angry neighbor, walks out the door and gets munched. That leaves Marcia Gay Harden as the local religious nutter, who enjoys playing God to the remaining shoppers, particularly when it comes to the wrath and the smiting. Before too long, walking into the mist looks like the smart option.
The monsters are scary, despite some scenes marred by weak CGI effects. But they're not nearly as scary as the creepy crawlies that come out of the trapped shoppers' psyches. What these people do to one another is actually frightening. Unlike other horror films that only have torture porn to offer, this one will stay with you for a long time.
The 180—a Second Opinion: Who the hell decided to release this for the holidays? After the insanely bleak ending, you may want to stock up on Zoloft. And puppies. And kittens. And ice cream.