Heavy Fog Expected

The Mist’s ending, depending on personal views, is either the greatest example of a director, writer, and studio taking an unbelievable risk in subverting an audience’s morbid expectations or the most grotesque, malformed screenwriting in cinematic history.

In this house, it’s a masterwork, and were it not for Shawshank Redemption, The Mist becomes the best thing director Frank Darabont ever made.

For almost two hours, The Mist destroys social order. It asks audiences to feel empathy, to agree with terrible people, and to cheer when the worst meet a grisly end. The philosophical slant is a work of brilliance, asking how we, as a society, actually function, and how readily humanity reverts to its most primal instincts.

The Mist uses an inter-dimensional insect invasion like a microscope on society

The Mist is a killer bug movie. A creature feature. Schlock, in many quarters. Yet The Mist projects the social disarray of post-9/11 America through a common gathering point – the grocery store, a place where everyone must co-exist to survive. It takes only a single challenge to warp and shape that peace, triggering inherent survivalist mechanisms as the decay grows.

Night of the Living Dead did this decades before with a Cold War and Civil Rights mindset. The Mist masterfully twists that formula into the modern era, dealing with class discrimination, religious dissension, and a fog that’s capably blinding these characters to the outside world. More than the pouncing spiders, it’s the uncertainty and how different people from different places and different beliefs approach what’s unknown.

[Spoilers! Keep scrolling past the image for the disc review]

With its masterstroke, The Mist concludes on an impossibly bleak, cruel finish that finds its hero staring down an inevitable, painful death like those who didn’t escape the grocery store. It takes an entire post-apocalyptic genre, calls it out, and asks why anyone wants to survive in such circumstances. It questions our purpose, admits defeat, and conquers instinct.

But it’s wrong. Or rather, David Drayton (Thomas Jane) is wrong. It’s not the apocalypse. All is seemingly well, and by his own hand, destroyed everything he had left in this life. Even beyond the allegorical discussion, the sheer will of a director to make a studio agree to an ending in which every horror character that’s usually off-limits via unwritten rules – the elderly, the child, the woman – is killed by a hero’s hand (and willingly in most cases) for nothing is unbelievable. Better still, it stands as a statement on raw human desperation, a need to not feel pain, to have some control over fate, and then demands an audience to reconcile why they cheered when others died before. The Mist uses an inter-dimensional insect invasion like a microscope on society. The sheer guts that takes elevates The Mist to classic.

The Mist 4K UHD screen shot


Lionsgate doesn’t do much for this 4K debut. The chunky grain is indicative of an older master, left untouched since The Mist appeared on Blu-ray. The slightest tinge of ringing is evident, suggesting sharpening. It looks as such too. Detail dilutes as a result, limited for this format.

If it weren’t for Dolby Vision confirming otherwise, The Mist can easily trick someone into thinking they put in the wrong disc. The upgrade in color saturation shows vibrant, warmed over flesh tones and distinctive teals inside the grocery. This doesn’t help the encode, drawing in chroma noise on occasion; that’s likely unavoidable given the grain’s unnatural thickness.

Density improves greatly, especially black levels, lifting the dimensionality to impeccable levels. What light makes it through the fog stands out, enhancing brightness. Before that, sun makes for an idealistic aesthetic, emboldened brilliantly.


Jumping into Atmos, an already reference grade 5.1 mix becomes even better – and this is the reason to upgrade rather than video. Incredible bass response shakes the entire store, rattling a home theater as it does so. The intensity and weight reaches reference level.

Also dazzling, surrounds engage during attack scenes, the added space enveloping listeners. The bettered surrounds see plenty of use given the flying creatures making their attack runs. Voices bounce between the stereos and rears generously during panicked scenes. Height channels don’t see as much use, too sparingly considering the opportunities, but they do activate, spectacularly when a spider creature walks over a car’s roof late.


It’s a four-disc set, with color and B&W versions on both 4K and Blu-ray, each on their own disc. There’s a lot to going on, although it’s the same as previous Mist Blu-rays. Darabont delivers a passionate commentary, and was adamant about taking on this project. And yes, he does get into the ending and why he chose to go that route. He follows the film up by discussing 10 deleted scenes that run about 15 minutes. These are all character development that were better off cut.

A rather self-congratulatory conversation between Stephen King and Darabont lasts 12-minutes, and jumps between topics without ever being fully involved. When Darkness Comes is the core making-of piece, running nearly 40-minutes. It’s exhaustive without making the other extras feel useless.

Three featurettes spend time on the special effects and creature designs, and these total up to around a half hour. Monsters Among Us focuses on the practical effects, Horror of it All on the CG stuff, and Taming the Beast covers the big insect attack inside the grocery. Drew Struzan: Appreciation of an Artist is a brief seven-minute featurette on the poster artist. Finally, three brief webisodes look into filming specific scenes, running a little over 10-minutes.

The Mist
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras


A brilliant mix of social commentary, monster attack cinema, and intensely morose thriller, The Mist ranks among the best of the early 2000s studio filmmaking.

User Review
4 (1 vote)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 41 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:

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