Frank Darabont goes back to his horror days in adapting Stephen King for the third time.
The Mist runs too long, though not nearly feeling the length of The Green Mile, as this Shreveport, La. shot film (with some hand-held work) sometimes works as a B-movie.
A Maine community is besieged by a fog that leaves the scared locals in a supermarket, where most of the picture takes place. Within that nebulous homicidal force are vengeful beings, and there may be memories (for some) conjured up of The Birds and The Twilight Zone.
Thomas Jane gets lead billing as an illustrator of movie posters out with a young son (Nathan Gamble) at the supermarket to stock up on supplies after a tree smashed into his home during a major storm.
The CGI gets going as a creepy mist has spread over the town with otherworldly predators in its presence. Inside the grocery store is a religious extremist (Marcia Gay Harden) and no-nonsense attorney (Andre Braugher). The actors can't do much with these rote characters, as many of the targeted audience will be waiting for some cool mayhem to pop up.
Too much of the running time is devoted to the gabbing in the aisles and preachy about the pervading supernatural spookiness. While Harden let her Mrs. Carmody exhort the Bible, Toby Jones and Frances Sternhagen provide an earthy wryness to the proceedings.
The final section is topped with a more conclusive sting (that King has reportedly enthusiastically approved) than the novella. But, without all the ruminating on societal stuff in a stuffy setting, the visual and make-up effects, as well as creature design, almost make Darabont's work fly fright-night style, rather than a missed opportunity.