A confused man wakes in a forest with a dog. He doesn’t know where he is or how the hell he got there. Not a bad first shot for the pilot of The Mist. After all, my favorite show of all time, Lost began with the self-same opening…
But from the second shot, The Mist went downhill. The actor in question couldn’t act and nor could the dog.
But worse than that, The Mist somehow, bizarrely, manages to be both so clichéd and impossibly unrealistic at the same time that the only explanation must be that I’ve wandered into the discombobulating fog myself.
BOTH CLICHÉD AND UNREALISTIC AT THE SAME TIME.
How this show manages this unfathomable cliché-ridden yet unreal feat I have no clue but its a lesson in how to not make a TV show. As a result, I’m going to spend this post looking at how nearly every single line uttered and certainly every single decision/action would simply never happen. Ever.
After a football match and an head-scratching gunfight in a cowshed, the solider’s dog, Rufus (though the above picture clearly suggests his name is Spike) is killed by the mist. The man wanders down into Bridgeville, Maine’s police department to report what he saw.
There, when this man (remember he’s a soldier – an upstanding citizen reporting a crime to fellow, similar servicemen) tells the cops that there is something in the mist, he is asked if he’s on drugs and greeted with the line:
“Listen, you can’t go around spreading fear like that, it disrupts public order. Okay?”
Errrr. Okay. Best conveniently lock him in the cells because that’s what the script requires.
Later, across town, Bisexual-Emo-Adrian and I’m-Nearly-Seventeen-I-Hate-You-Mom-Alex attend a party. Alex gets picked on by jock football players because he’s dancing like a fairy and Alex accepts alcohol and goes upstairs with Blue-Eyed-Golden-Boy-And-Football-Team-Captain-Jay.
Who rapes her. Two nights before the mist comes to town.
Two nights before the mist comes to town.
When Alex tells her parents in the morning and her father shows zero emotion at the news his only daughter has just been raped and instead of getting angry says we better tell the police.
The police visit Jay and tell him he’s being investigated for sexual assault. In a corridor. In front of his mates.
THE WORST EXPOSITIONAL LINE OF DIALOGUE EVER WRITTEN?
This is about as likely to happen as Environmentalist-Zealot-But-Definitely-Not-Mrs-Carmody being approached by a horde of CGI toads before haring down to the library to be told the worst ever line of dialogue by her Soon-To-Be-Shot-In-The-Face-By-A-Mad-Stranger-In-The-Mist-Husband “I thought we agreed you’d stop looking for conspiracy theories on the internet.”
The rest of the rape storyline plays out with Weirder-Looking-Than-Sissy-Spacek’s-Carrie-Mom and I-Don’t-Care-My-Sixteen-Year-Old-Daughter’s-Just-Been-Raped-Dad sharing zero chemistry and Alex being cuddled better on the bed by Adrian. She’s not even crying before some of the football team throw a brick through the kitchen window and scarper in a red sports car after having spray-painted the word WHORE on the road outside their house.
SHE’S WEARING A HOODIE SO SHE MUST BE GAY… AND ON DRUGS.
Mia, the woman who killed a man in the cowshed gunfight is arrested after searching for, finding and leaving a stash of money and fake passport buried in a shed and tossed in the cell next to our soldier. She’s wearing a hoodie so she must be gay and on drugs.
Alex’s mum takes Alex away via the mall while Dad goes to see the chief of police, who happens to be his brother AND rapist Jay’s dad. Soon-to-be-dead-Sidekick Cop is interviewing rape witness Adrian when the mist arrives.
Dad, Chief and Soon-to-be-dead-Sidekick Cop go outside to investigate. Not knowing what this ominous mist is, Soon-to-be-dead-Sidekick Cop stays outside to ‘take photos of himself in the midst of the mist for the missus’ Errrr. Again. What? Why?
Has Soon-to-be-dead-Sidekick’s wife instructed him that in the event of a supernatural mist descending from the pages of a Stephen King novel onto the town, she needs fucking selfies or does the script just need him to be outside on his own?
Soon-to-be-dead-Sidekick then gleefully proceeds to take fifteen selfies before being attacked by CGI cockroaches and turning evil and in one of the most logic-defying dialogues I’ve ever heard, jailbird Mia convinces Dad and Adrian to let her out precisely because she’s “unstable” and “scary” and knows how to kill people. Okay then.
Meanwhile across town, Most-Hated-Mom-In-The-World and recently raped Alex go to the mall. The mist arrives and traps them there…
But worse, the final shots reveal that Alex is trapped inside the mall with Football-Team-Captain-and-Son-To-Chief-Of-Police-Rapist-Jay.
Who, I bet my house, didn’t rape her.
IT’S AS IF THERE’S A MONSTER OUTSIDE AND A MONSTER INSIDE.
The chemistry between the actors is like a black hole. There is no depth to the words they are uttering from the script. It’s like they’re at a script reading run-through, not on picture locked final draft. Any interesting ideas have been done to death in Stephen King’s novels and films forty years ago.
On no level are any of the characters engaging. The words that come out of their mouths, the decisions they make and their actions either bare no relation to their personality or are so childishly stereotyped that they may as well have been written by a fourteen-year-old high school girl for whom English is a second language.
Danish creator Christian Torpe has described his show as “Ingmar Bergman’s Jaws” though if I had to find a genre-smashing description it would be “Rocky and Bullwinkle’s Jumping Under the Fonzie Shark.”
It took Happy Days five seasons to jump the shark. It took a whole episode of Under the Dome for me to decide it was unwatchable.
It took Christian Torpe two shots. How this turd was ever greenlit, I don’t know. What I do know is, four years my junior, I hate you Christian Torpe. Time to do something meaningful. Time to leave something behind.
I wrote about an amazing looking trailer that I’d never heard of Spike TV before and I kinda wish I hadn’t. If you want my advice, go and watch Frank Darabont’s criminally underrated film The Mist in black and white.
The shitshow that is Spike TV’s The Mist continues on Thursday 29th June.