This is a follow-up of sorts to my piece on Mikael Hafstrøm's adaptation of Stephen King's 1408. If you're interested, you should check that out. There, I half-marveled at and half-lamented the fact that the film managed to transform 1408 from a spectacularly scary, quasi-Lovecraftian horror tale into a personal, abstract meditation on grief and loss. In effect, the movie transplanted the story from the conceptual, hard-horror half of King's ouvre (think Cell and From a Buick 8) to the character-driven half (Lisey's Story, Bag of Bones). It was still a good film, but it needed someone who understood the existential terror that King is so good at evoking: a glimpse of something so alien, so divorced from the world we know, that it is simply beyond our comprehension. That's scary. Give me a movie like that.
At the time I wrote that post, such a film already existed. I suspected that this was the case, but I hadn't read the source material, and so couldn't validly make the comparison. Now I can: Frank Darabont's The Mist understands the sort of paralyzing, staring-into-the-abyss horror that King does so well. Even more impressive: not only does it brilliantly translate that aspect of the novella to the screen, it – like 1408 – fleshes out dimensions that the author barely implied. I knew I loved the film when I saw it, but only now do I understand how accomplished it really is.