Stephen king is the King of Horror. His stories grip us in darkness and make us lose faith in holding on to hope. Throughout his tenure as a writer, movies based on his stories like Pet Semetary, 1922, and It have consistently left us in terror. In 2007, Frank Darabont made a movie on a little-known Stephen King story back then. The Mist hit the theatres. And none of the people who were fortunate (or unfortunate enough?) to have watched The Mist would ever be the same again.
Darabont was a master story-teller. His method of conveying the message he wanted to spread through his movie was less horror and more a stance on socio-politics. The Mist enshrouded the entire town. leaving people in a state of frenzy. When people are unsure and afraid, they become their own worst enemies. It was like Lord Of The Flies meets Dawn Of The Dead. But it was far worse. More than the creatures hiding in the Mist, it were the humans that were the actual monstrosities. The gutsy manner, pace and tone of the movie left us in absolute terror. No other movie has ever made us think the way Darabont’s The Mist did.
Why is that? Why is The Mist held in such a high regard? The movie is a take on the duality of the human instinct. It is either fight or flight in the face of imminent doom. When you are uncapable of predicting in the slightest as to what happens next, you feel as if you are losing control. Men and women, like to have a false sense of control because in essence, we are all creatures of routine. Take that away and it is chaos of the highest order. That is what Frank Darabont wanted to convey. That society and order are mere human constructs so weak, they wither away at the slightest touch of anarchy.
What Happens In The Ending Of The Mist
In the book written by Stephen King, the group consisting of David, his son Billy, and Amanda, Irene, and Dan manage to get out of the supermarket. They are trying to get away from the creatures of The Mist unleashed by the arrowhead Project. As David encounters the Behemoth and sees New England is now a wasteland, he keeps driving. A faint radio signal uttering the word “Hartford” is their only hope. The book has an open-ended conclusion. We don’t know what becomes of the group.
Darabont though, having already worked in award-winning Stephen King adaptations like Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, knew this ending would not do. The extra spice was when he repurposed the ending for the movie. The first major change is that David discovers his wife is killed and cocooned by a spider (her fate was left open-ended in the book). The group discovers the Behemoth but David keeps driving till the car runs out of gas. Now left in the middle of nowhere with dangerous creatures from other dimensions all around them, david has a tough choice to make. To ensure the group is not tortured and killed by the creatures, he shoots every person in the group, including his own son.
David exits the car since the gun has no bullets left. He leaves himself to the mercy of the creatures of the Mist. Something does emerge but it is not a creature.
Military tanks carrying armed soldiers are here. The Mist clears and David realizes had he waited for just five more minutes, his hands would not have been pointlessly stained with the blood of his own son.
Five. More. Minutes. That’s all it would have taken for everything to be alright. But wait!! David’s grief does not stop there.
The Second Twist Ending That Made Us Gasp In Horror
David is up for another tragic surprise. When the Mist was just engulfing the town, a woman in the supermarket who was trapped with David asked for the townspeople’s help to save her two kids. No one volunteered, not even David, to help the woman. She was forced to venture out alone. In one of the military vehicles that emerged in the ending was the same woman with her two kids. All of them were safe. Throughout the film, David tried his best to protect his son from all sorts of horror from another world. But because he was too scared, he let his fear take over. He was so busy in protecting his son from the other monsters that he himself became one in the process.
Had he not given in to fear and pushed through, maybe helping the woman save her kids, maybe – just maybe, David’s son would have still been alive.
The movie makes us beg a very simple but dangerous question:
Are humans, as a species, fundamentally insane?