This article is intended for those who have already seen THE MIST (2007, Darabont). Spoilers abound!
Horror fans and film enthusiasts flipped over the announcement that 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE would be hitting US theaters on March 11th. The news was almost universally lauded, likely because CLOVERFIELD is a movie that actually begs a sequel. We were left with so many unanswered questions, postulating a myriad of “what-ifs”; a continuation feels like a welcome gift or a reunion with a long-lost friend. (Whether it will live up to expectations remains to be seen).
It got me thinking about other horror sequels I’d like to see (you can check out my Top 10 List over at The Blood-Shed); #1 on my list: 2007’s THE MIST, directed by Frank Darabont, based on the novella by Stephen King. It’s not because the film’s ultra-nihilistic ending bothered me (I loved it, in fact). And while I wouldn’t be opposed to learning what happens after the credits rolled (whether mankind has truly won the war against inter-dimensional giants), Darabont’s movie has some tantalizing blank areas worthy of exploration. The kind of sequel I’d like to see would tie up integral loose-ends presented in the initial saga.
Before becoming a modern horror icon for her portrayal of born-again-hard Carol Peletier on THE WALKING DEAD, Melissa McBride was “The Woman with Kids at Home” in THE MIST. She makes such a brief appearance (uttering just a handful of syllables) that her character didn’t even warrant a name. She meekly and ineffectually requests a chaperone to accompanying her through the mist, a “gentleman” willing to see her home, where her children are scared and alone.
Watching grown men cower at her request (even the film’s hero: David Drayton played by Thomas Jane) is definitely a low point in the film. She shuffles off on her own in what seems like a virtual death sentence—but it wasn’t. The Woman with Kids at Home returns for the film’s gut wrenching climax (a re-emergence I admit I missed on my first viewing of THE MIST). She’s part of the military caravan heading out of the mist as Drayton descends into utter devastation. Their eyes meet and, even though no words are spoken, much is exchanged between them. While McBride’s character survived (and saved her children), Drayton realizes his mercy-killings were unnecessary—that he and his family might still be alive if he had walked her home (like a gentleman) the day before. It’s a poignant moment that really hammers home the tragedy (and futility) of Drayton’s ultimate act of desperation.
THE MIST sequel I’d like to see would give McBride’s character a name; as the masses huddled in fear, we’d follow her on a dangerous trek home to her children. What monsters did she face? What obstacles did she overcome? How did she evolve from a timid cast-off into a bona fide hero? We know from THE WALKING DEAD that McBride is a complex and talented actor, capable of transforming from a kitten into a fierce lion. Such a sequel could end at the exact same moment as 2007’s THE MIST; without undoing the powerful impact of the original, it would deliver a triumphant conclusion to the same story.
And let’s not forget that the fate of ultra-skeptic Brent Norton (played by Andre Braugher) in THE MIST remains completely unknown as well. While he didn’t reappear in the military caravan at the end of the film, we have no idea what terrors he faced after foolishly stumbling out into the fog.
How about a trilogy?
Follow me on Twitter @josh_millican.