Fraught with a claustrophobic tension that propels the audience into a continuous state of discomfort, Frank Darabont’s The Mist (2007) is a fascinating examination of the difference between faith and moral myopia. While many critics have commented upon the zealotry of Mrs. Carmody and its seeming indictment of religious fervor, the bulk of that analysis fails to consider Mrs. Carmody’s actions in relation to the larger narrative. I propose that The Mist is largely a conservative film—one that elevates faith and purity of heart above scientific reason and self-preservation. Those who adopt the former survive, while those who choose the latter face a biblical reckoning.
When a fog shrouding man-eating creatures descends upon a sleepy Maine town, an eclectic group of survivors are forced to take shelter together. Unlike the fog and the “Nothing” in The Fog (John Carpenter, 1980) and The NeverEnding Story (Wolfgang Petersen, 1984), the formlessness of the threat in The Mist is quickly associated with biblical prophecy. Not only does Mrs. Carmody state, “The end times have come; not in flames, but in mist,” but Private Jessup ultimately admits that the mist could be the result of the government trying to “see what’s on the other side.” By suggesting from two distinct perspectives—religion (Mrs. Carmody) and reasoned authority (the military-minded Jessup)—that the events unfolding are the result of God’s will, Darabont’s narrative becomes less about religion per se and more about faith.