The novels and stories of Stephen King have a wildly erratic track record on screens large and small. One of the better film adaptations of the last two decades was “The Mist,” Frank Darabont’s somber box-office underperformer. Noted for its wildly downbeat twist ending, the film’s reputation has grown since release. Now, about a decade later, comes a new television version of “The Mist,” for Spike. With solid production values, an understated cast and the ability to develop the scares slowly and methodically, it could go down as a summer hit.
Title: “The Mist”
Year it began: 2017
Where it can be seen: Spike
Who’s in it: Morgan Spector, Frances Conroy, Alyssa Sutherland, Danica Curcic and Okezie Morro
Typical episode length: 60 minutes
Number of episodes to date: 1; series premiered on June 22 and will run for 10 episodes
Brief plot description: After an eerie mist rolls into the small town of Bridgton, Maine, the residents must battle the mysterious menace – and each other. “The Mist” is adapted from a 1980 novella by Stephen King.
Why it’s worth watching: The film version of “The Mist” was no classic, but succeeded in capturing the novel’s sense of dread. That same feeling is evident within minutes of the start of this TV adaptation. A wonderfully eerie opening sequence featuring a dazed soldier (Okezie Morro), it sets the stage for some of the horrors to follow. Episode one is all about exposition and introduction – the overprotective parent, the free spirit teenager, the happy-go-lucky gardening neighbors, the jerk chief of police, the star quarterback. But it ends with a killer (quite literally) final stretch in which that mysterious mist begins to make its way into town. The cast of "hey, isn't that the actor from ..." character actors is solid in the first 60 minutes, with Danica Curcic’s on-the-run drug addict the standout. It is clear that “The Walking Dead” is the model here, and that’s not a bad thing; so far, TV’s “The Mist” never feels like a retread of the film. It’s a sour but compelling opening, and certainly succeeds in building anticipation for episode two. What does the master of horror think? On June 13, Stephen King tweeted the following: “THE MIST TV series premieres on Spike, June 22nd. You might want to mark it on your calendar. It’s really good.”