For as long as King’s been been publishing, Hollywood’s been knock-knock-knockin’ on Stephen’s door for more. First came 1976’s Carrie, two years after he published that first novel, which made household names of the author, Brian De Palma, Sissy Spacek, and the humiliating viscosity of pig’s blood. The 1980s saw a slew of adaptations, the highlights being The Shining, Stand by Me, and The Running Man (the book for which was published under pulp fall-guy name Richard Bachman). As for the ’90s, well…it’d be the best decade ever for just The Shawshank Redemption. But nope, there was also Misery and The Green Mile!
In recent years, it’s been about cats (Pet Sematary), clowns (It Chapter Two), and kids (Doctor Sleep, a new adaptation of Firestarter). So let’s get this fire started with all rated Stephen King movie adaptations by Tomatometer! —Alex Vo
Critics Consensus: Though it deviates from Stephen King's novel, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is a chilling, often baroque journey into madness -- exemplified by an unforgettable turn from Jack Nicholson.
Synopsis: Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) becomes winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer's block.... [More]
Critics Consensus: Not even the melding of Stephen King and George A. Romero's writing sensibilities can elevate this spineless anthology, which is too simple in its storytelling and too skimpy on the genuine scares.
Synopsis: This second horror anthology presents more eerie tales based on Stephen King stories. One episode finds a cigar-store Native American... [More]
Welcome to the new millennium. The decade horror came home to America. The decade horror went global. Welcome to the 80 Best Horror Movies of the 2000s.
If horror movies reflect the fears and concerns of a people, it’s notable that America claimed torture-porn as their de rigueur subgenre. Something in Saw and its ilk’s slow-roasted dismantling of human flesh appealed to a nation consumed by post-9/11 paranoia and a bombardment of wartime images and atrocity. But while torture-porn movies made a killing at the box office, none were ever particularly well-reviewed; only Hostel arrives here. Recovering from the ’90s doldrums, the best horror movies came from overseas, as digital cameras lowered the cost to film and the rise of the internet made knowledge and dissemination of these movies as simple as a mouse click. In fact, of the top 10 movies here (which includes the likes of Pan’s Labyrinth and The Host), only two were shot in America. Other trends seen during this decade: Asian originals and occasional remakes (The Ring, Thirst), found footage (Paranormal Activity, Cloverfield), the return of the living dead (Shaun of the Dead, 28 Days Later), and nostalgic throwbacks (Slither, Death Proof). The only stipulation for a movie to be considered for this list was a Fresh rating from at least 20 reviews.
Time to add some scary MIDIs to your MySpace and set AIM status to away (FOREVER), because here comes the best scary 2000s movies!
Critics Consensus:Death Proof may feel somewhat minor in the context of Tarantino's larger filmography, but on its own merits, it packs just enough of a wallop to deliver sufficiently high-octane grindhouse goods.
Synopsis: Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) is a professional body double who likes to take unsuspecting women for deadly drives in his... [More]
Critics Consensus: If it falls short of the deadly satire of Bret Easton Ellis's novel, American Psycho still finds its own blend of horror and humor, thanks in part to a fittingly creepy performance by Christian Bale.
Synopsis: In New York City in 1987, a handsome, young urban professional, Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), lives a second life as... [More]
Critics Consensus: With little gore and a lot of creepy visuals, The Ring gets under your skin, thanks to director Gore Verbinski's haunting sense of atmosphere and an impassioned performance from Naomi Watts.
Synopsis: It sounds like just another urban legend -- a videotape filled with nightmarish images leads to a phone call foretelling... [More]
Critics Consensus:Vampire Hunter D's gothic charms may be lost on those unfamiliar with the anime series that spawned it, but the crisp action and nightmarish style will satiate horror aficionados' bloodlust.
Synopsis: In a dark and distant future, when the undead have arisen from apocalyptic ashes, an original story unfolds. Ten thousand... [More]
Critics Consensus: George A. Romero's latest entry in his much-vaunted Dead series is not as fresh as his genre-inventing original, Night of the Living Dead. But Land of the Dead does deliver on the gore and zombies-feasting-on-flesh action.
Synopsis: In a world where zombies form the majority of the population, the remaining humans build a feudal society away from... [More]
Critics Consensus: Though its underlying themes are familiar, House of the Devil effectively sheds the loud and gory cliches of contemporary horror to deliver a tense, slowly building throwback to the fright flicks of decades past.
Synopsis: Desperate to make some money so she can move into a new apartment, college student Samantha Hughes (Jocelin Donahue) takes... [More]
Critics Consensus: Plunging viewers into the nightmarish hellscape of an apartment complex under siege, [Rec] proves that found footage can still be used as an effective delivery mechanism for sparse, economic horror.
Synopsis: A reporter (Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman record the horrifying outbreak of a disease that turns humans into vicious cannibals.... [More]
All Stephen King TV Series, Miniseries, TV Movies Ranked
TV has been a favorite home to adaptations of Stephen King books and short stories into series, mini-series, and TV movies since 1979 TV series Salem’s Lot. Whether developed for television or straight-to-video — remember video tapes? — TV and movie translations of, or based on, the horror master’s work have long been fan favorites, even if they didn’t receive much critical acclaim.
But which is the best? Rotten Tomatoes dug up 30 Stephen King made-for-TV movies, TV shows, and streaming series and ranked them by their Tomatometer scores. The top 10 is made up of six of the most recent King adaptations — yay, progress! — including The Outsider, which hit HBO in 2020.
Some titles, like The Dead Zone with Anthony Michael Hall, that happened before Peak TV don’t have enough reviews of their seasons to get series-level scores and are listed alphabetically at the end of the list below (that is, you will see them first as you read down the page). Season 1 of The Dead Zone, for instance, has a 77% score on 13 reviews, but has no scores on its other five seasons and therefore doesn’t meet the criteria for a series-level score (at least half of a show’s seasons must have scores).
You may also note that while films that are Certified Fresh are clearly labeled here, TV shows are Certified Fresh by season, and season badges won’t show up in a mixed list of film and series-level scores — click through to the shows’ overview pages to find out how many seasons are Certified Fresh.
Have a look at all Stephen King TV and streaming series and movies ranked by Tomatometer. Have we forgotten your favorite? Remind us in the comments.
Critics Consensus: This made-for-TV adaptation of Stephen King's classic fails to impress or bring anything new to the table, - or to the prom - paling even more in comparison to the 1970's memorable version.
Synopsis: Tormented by her fellow high-school students, a teenager (Angela Bettis) uses telekinesis as a tool for vengeance.... [More]
Critics Consensus: Director Tobe Hooper and a devilishly charismatic James Mason elevate this television adaptation of the Stephen King novel, injecting the vampiric tradition with fresh blood and lingering scares.
Synopsis: Based on the Stephen King novel, Ben Mears (David Soul) has returned to his hometown of Salem's Lot to write... [More]
We all float down at the box office this weekend… which is another way of saying that more than 25 years after Stephen King’s It terrified TV audiences, his classic bestseller about a group of young outcasts who band together to defeat an ageless evil has finally made its way to the big screen. To celebrate, we decided to spin the Tomatometer and make a list of King’s best-reviewed film adaptations while inviting you to rank your own personal favorites, and you know what that means: it’s time for Total Recall!
Use the up and down arrows to rank the movies, or click here to see them ranked by Tomatometer!
Moviedom’s main ape makes his first theater appearance since Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake with Kong: Skull Island, a 1970s-set adventure starring Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson who travel to the King’s home to confirm his mythic existence. The thrill of seeing mammoths trashing cities and vulnerable public transit dates back to the movie-going experience’s earliest decades, which we cover in this week’s gallery of 24 Fresh giant monster films!
has twice before adapted Stephen King to critical acclaim (The
Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile)
but this time around he may have picked the wrong story. Set in a small town in
Maine, The Mist finds a group of townspeople trapped in a grocery store
enveloped by a thick, mysterious fog — vapors that conceal terribly hungry
monsters that may or may not be punishments from God. Critics were split on the
flick, which stars Thomas Jane and Marcia
Gay Harden; while perfectly fine as a creature feature, some thought
Darabont failed to seamlessly merge horror pic with message movie. A director
commentary, eight deleted scenes, and a Stephen King — Frank Darabont featurette
appear on the standard DVD release; five more featurettes and a black and white
version of the film comprise a 2-Disc Special Edition.
Marc Forster‘s The Kite Runner has nearly as compelling a production story as the
fictional lives of its protagonists, two childhood friends from Afghanistan.
Well-to-do Amir is best friends with Hassan, the son of his family’s servant,
but their friendship is shattered by one pivotal traumatic event. Years later,
Amir must come to terms with his childhood act of cowardice and return to Kabul
to set things right. Critics gave credit to Runner‘s strong performances,
though at two hours (and with the best of intentions) the film may feel
plodding. The filmmakers’ decision to film partially in the native Dari language
and to evacuate the child actors and their families from Afghanistan were bold
choices that make this film all the more intriguing.
Patrick Fugit, Shannyn
Tom Waits (in a supporting role) star in this indie black comedy about
suicide victims still searching for answers after death. Lovelorn Zia (Fugit)
wakes up to find the afterlife is a vast alternate world of unhappiness (quite
like our own), setting off on a road trip when he hears his ex-girlfriend has
also arrived. Absurdist and artful — what Roger Ebert slyly
terms “the birth of the Post-Slasher movie” — Wristcutters tackles a difficult
subject but does so bittersweetly. Music by Gogol Bordello
perfectly compliments the feeling. A filmmaker commentary, storyboards,
making-of, deleted scenes and Fugit’s own on-set photo gallery round out the
What exactly do presidents do when their four years are up? Some of them, like
39th United States President Jimmy Carter,
turn to public service with seemingly more gusto and more freedom then they did
while in the Oval Office. The peanut-farming, best-selling author and Nobel
Peace Prize winning Carter — who hails from Plains, Georgia — only served a
single term (1977-1981) as America’s leader, but has devoted his
post-Presidential life to humanitarian work. Director Jonathan Demme,
who went from his directorial debut, Caged Heat, to
winning an Oscar for Silence of the
Lambs, followed Carter on a book tour for three months to make this
documentary, resulting in an intriguing and candid portrait of the former
seminal 1967 classic about real-life criminal couple Bonnie Parker and Clyde
Barrow enjoys a much deserved spot in the annals of film history; now the newly
re-mastered cut can enjoy a much deserved spot in your DVD library! Faye Dunaway
Beatty star in the revisionist tale of Depression-era criminals Bonnie and
Clyde, who shot and robbed their way across America in the 1930s. Penn’s comic
touch and grisly violence broke new ground in American cinema and influenced
generations of filmmakers. Pick up the 2-Disc Special Edition with over two
hours of bonus material like a History Channel documentary about Bonnie and
Clyde, a making-of featurette, deleted scenes, Beatty’s wardrobe tests, and a
theatrical trailer; a hardcover collectible photo book and the 1967 original
press book come in a separate Collector’s Edition.
Ah, Sliders. Watching Quinn Mallory (Jerry
O’Connell) jump between parallel worlds with a homemade but undependable
“timer” made for some fun television back in 1995. Cancelled by Fox after its
first season, the show was revived thanks to fan intervention; eventually the
show would fire Jonathan
Rhys-Davies, lose original token girl Wade (Sabrina
Lloyd) to an actress-on-actress spat, and inexplicably replace O’Connell
with his own brother, Charlie O’Connell (playing Quinn’s brother, Colin). But
before Sliders lost the original O’Connell — right when the storylines
turned to the awkward Kromagg war — there was Season Four, out this week on
DVD. Re-watch the last starring season of the apex of Jerry O’Connell’s career
Directing three Stephen King movies (four, if you count an early short film) wasn’t enough for Frank Darabont. Perhaps cinema’s biggest fan of the horror author, the Mist writer/director has plans for another Stephen King movie. This one, written under King’s pseudonym Richard Bachman, is the sci-fi tale The Long Walk.
The story tells of a futuristic foot race where competitors are shot when they stop walking. The last man walking wins. A movie constantly on the go is the next hurdle Darabont faces.
“Certainly you can’t get too handheld with it because then you’d have an image bouncing for the length of a feature film,” said Darabont. “I think there’s got to be some stabilizing gizmos that I can use to get some of that coverage but I’m already thinking about that.”
Darabont distinguished between his styles for The Mist and his previous films. Where he spent time carefully planning on The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, he took a fast and furious approach to The Mist. That style would also be appropriate for The Long Walk.
“That would also be, I think, probably the more ragged and loose and documentary kind of feel. It would probably be an even lower budget than this one was.”
With Fahrenheit 451 set to be Darabont’s next project, The Long Walk could still be a long way off. “That right now is still in the future. That’s on one of the back burners for now. It probably won’t be too long but before I do that, I’m hoping to get Fahrenheit 451 rolling next year.”
The box office bounced back over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend as
moviegoers spread their dollars across a wide variety of films which
collectively helped to bring the marketplace back to life after a mostly
uneventful fall season. Disney led the way with its new family pic Enchanted,
which ruled the multiplexes, but a surprisingly potent opening for the holiday
comedy This Christmas contributed to the weekend’s success too. Other new
releases were sprinkled across the top ten which virtually matched the
Thanksgiving numbers posted over each of the last two years. An unprecedented
eleven films each grossed $8M or more over the frame as every audience segment
found something to see over the long holiday weekend.
For the first time in eight years, Disney opened a new release at number one
over the turkey frame. The studio’s princess tale Enchanted powered past all
competitors to bow on top with an estimated $35.3M over the Friday-to-Sunday
period and an incredible $50M across the five-day holiday span which began on
Wednesday. That led to a muscular $9,472 average from an ultrawide 3,730 sites
over three days. The PG-rated story of an animated princess who encounters the
live-action world posted the second biggest five-day opening ever over the
The only hit to debut better was 1999’s Toy Story 2 from Disney and Pixar with
$80.1M which was also the studio’s last new pic to bow at number one over this
frame. From 1994 to 1999, the Mouse House consistently debuted a new family film
each year at number one over this lucrative holiday frame. Enchanted should have
no problem finding its way into the century club.
Beating expectations to open in the number two spot was the family reunion film This Christmas which debuted to an estimated $18.6M over three days and a
stunning $27.1M over the five-day period. Sony’s inexpensive $13M production
averaged a potent $10,011 over three days from only 1,858 theaters for the best
average among wide releases. The feel-good holiday pic brought in two-thirds of
its business from African-American moviegoers proving once again how powerful
that audience is at the box office. Look for This Christmas to finish up as a
very profitable venture.
Last week’s top warrior Beowulf dropped 41% to an estimated $16.2M and landed in
third place. With $56.4M in its treasure chest after ten days, the
$150M-budgeted Paramount release should conclude its domestic run with about
Competing actioner Hitman debuted in fourth place with an estimated $13M over
three days from 2,458 locations. Averaging a decent $5,303 per venue, the
R-rated film about a super-assassin was adapted from a popular video game. Over
five days, Hitman shot up $21M for Fox which was targeting many of the same
young males that were going to see Beowulf.
The animated hit Bee
Movie followed in fifth with an estimated $12M, off just
14%, for a $112.1M sum to date for Paramount. Warner Bros. was close behind with
rival family offering Fred Claus
which dipped 10% to an estimated $10.7M pushing
the total to $53.1M.
Studio stablemate August Rush opened in seventh place with an estimated $9.4M
over three days and $13.3M across five days. The family drama about a young
musical genius averaged a moderate $4,082 over the Friday-to-Sunday period. American Gangster remained strong in its fourth frame grossing an estimated
$9.2M, down 29%, upping its cume for Universal to $115.8M.
Two more new wide releases rounded out the top ten. The Mist, a terror tale
based on a Stephen King story, debuted in ninth place with an estimated $9.1M
with a five-day take of $13M. Attacking 2,423 theaters, the R-rated film
averaged a mild $3,740 over three days. Horror films typically do not see huge
numbers over Thanksgiving weekend as most moviegoers are in the mood for more
cheery and upbeat films. Miramax expanded its Coen brothers hit No Country for
Old Men into nationwide release and captured an estimated $8.1M over three days.
The crime thriller averaged a superb $9,433 and lifted its total to $16.6M.
Opening to solid results from the arthouses was the Bob Dylan pic I’m Not There which grossed an estimated $757,000 from just 130 venues over the three-day
period. The Weinstein Co. release averaged a respectable $5,823 per site and
collected $1M over the long holiday session.
The top ten films grossed $141.8M over the weekend which was up less than 1%
from last year when Happy Feet remained at number one with $37M; but off 1% from
2005 when Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire stayed on top with $54.7M.
This weekend For the first time this decade, a new release seems set to take over the number one spot during the busy Thanksgiving holiday weekend at the North American box office. Studios are cramming a six-pack of new titles into multiplexes nationwide hoping the recent famine in the marketplace will be replaced by a feast. The films lack major stars, but they do however have clearly-defined audiences which will hopefully allow them to survive and expand the overall pie.
Disney leads the way with the fantasy extravaganza Enchanted for young girls while Fox counters with the much more violent action offering Hitman aimed at young men. MGM goes for a scare with the horror film The Mist, Sony targets African American moviegoers with This Christmas, and August Rush from Warner Bros. will try to tap into family audiences. Meanwhile, Miramax goes after older adults and upscale crowds with its acclaimed thriller No Country For Old Men which widens into national release after two weeks of sold out shows in limited play.
Once upon a time, Disney regularly opened a new family film at number one over Thanksgiving weekend. After a long absence, the Mouse House is now poised to take its rightful place on the turkey throne with its fairy tale adventure pic Enchanted which finds an animated princess thrust upon the real world where people do not live happily ever after. The PG-rated film will appeal to the millions of young girls and mothers who have become devotees of Disney’s lucrative army of princesses. Getting in boys may be a bit tough, but the female following should be more than enough to propel this massive release into the top spot at the holiday box office.
Not since 1999’s Toy Story 2 has Disney, or any other studio for that matter, opened a new film at number one over this holiday frame. Holdovers have consistently ruled since 2000, mostly big guns that debuted on the weekend before the holiday to get an early jump on the cash. But from 1994 through 1999, Disney enjoyed an unprecedented streak ruling the Thanksgiving box office every year with an iron fist. Now that magic is back, thanks in part to a surprisingly weak line-up of November titles coming from Hollywood’s magic factories. With the widest release by far of any new film, no holdovers to stand in its way, and a holiday frame that welcomes family entertainment, Enchanted looks to become the queen bee. Opening in an ultrawide 3,632 theaters, the fantasy film may charm its way to about $30M over the Friday-to-Sunday period and $43M during the extended Wednesday-to-Sunday span.
Amy Adams in Enchanted
Fox hopes that young men from coast to coast will stamp their necks with barcodes and hit the megaplexes to see its new action thriller Hitman. Based on the popular video game, the R-rated film about a genetically-engineered superassassin has its eyes set squarely on male audiences done with cartoon Vikings and ready for some guns and ammo. The studio’s marketing has been superb with slickly-edited television spots featuring operatic tunes that really sell the picture to the target audience. Unfortunately there are no marquee names in the cast to help bring in business. Direct competition from Beowulf will also curtail grosses a bit. With a strong marketing push exciting the core crowd, look for a solid and respectable opening. Hitman invades 2,401 venues and might capture $13M over the weekend and $19M over five days.
Timothy Olyphant in Hitman
Some folks may be in search of a scare this weekend so MGM is rolling out the fright flick The Mist, a film adaptation of a Stephen King story. The R-rated pic comes from director Frank Darabont (The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption) and stars Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, and Andre Braugher. The actors add little starpower so Mist‘s commercial prospects will instead have to rely on King’s name and the popularity of the horror genre. With the pre-Halloween gorefests now eroding away, competition should not come from fellow thrillers. Instead movies like Hitman and Beowulf will be factors as both will play to older teens and twentysomethings. Historically, horror films have rarely found success over Thanksgiving weekend since audiences tend to flock to happy tales. Attacking 2,423 theaters, The Mist may scare up about $10M over the Friday-to-Sunday period and roughly $14M across the five-day span.
Thomas Jane and co. in The Mist
The true meaning of family is explored once again in the holiday drama This Christmas from Sony. The PG-13 story about different generations of the Whitfield clan reuniting for the holidays stars Delroy Lindo, Regina King, Mekhi Phifer, and pop singer Chris Brown. The studio is aiming primarily for African American adults. With American Gangster going into its fourth frame and most other films neglecting this particular audience, Christmas should have clear sailing as it heads into the multiplexes. But starpower is lacking. Gangster and Why Did I Get Married? both did stellar business thanks in part to A-list drawing power from Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry, respectively. This Christmas opens in 1,802 playdates, with a widening to 1,858 on Friday, and could be in for a three-day bow of $8M and a five-day tally of $11M.
Likely to have a tough time finding ticket buyers this weekend is the new PG-rated drama August Rush which brings together an oddly assembled cast including Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Terrence Howard, and Robin Williams. The Warner Bros. tale about a young music prodigy in search of his parents will no doubt have its work cut out for it trying to convince parents to not spend their time and money on Disney fairy tales, talking bees, Santa’s siblings, and wonder emporiums. Competition is too strong for this one and overall excitement is quite low. August Rush opens Wednesday in 2,280 theaters and expands to 2,310 on Friday. Look for a three-day debut of $5M and a five-day tally of $7M.
Freddie Highmore and Robin Williams in August Rush
With few options for older adults looking for serious fare over the long weekend, Miramax is rolling out its critical darling No Country For Old Men from the Coen brothers into nationwide release. Expanding from 148 to 860 locations, the R-rated thriller starring Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, and Tommy Lee Jones will try to target those folks that have already watched Denzel and Russell go head-to-head and are looking for more shoot-em-up action from veteran filmmakers and actors. Hot buzz has been spreading over its two weeks in limited release so awareness is now high enough to take the pic wider. Last weekend’s scorching $20,782 average will probably get sliced in half and some people will opt for happier films over Thanksgiving. But direct competition is not too fierce and word-of-mouth is on its side. Look for No Country For Old Men to take in about $7M over three days and $10M over five.
Josh Brolin in No Country for Old men
Last weekend’s champ Beowulf would normally see a sizable sophomore drop especially with Hitman stealing away young men. But thanks to the holiday cushion, the decline should not be as bad. A 30% fall may result giving Paramount a Friday-to-Sunday take of around $19M which would push the cume to $60M after ten days. Studio stablemate Bee Movie will join the century club by Friday and should remain a solid option for families. Look for a 20% dip to roughly $11M and a boost in the total to $111M.
A 25% drop might be in the works for American Gangster which may tap into patient adults that have heard the buzz, but just haven’t made a trip to the theaters yet. Universal could take in about $9.5M over three days and raise its sum to $116M. Christmas films routinely see their three-day grosses climb over the turkey frame when compared to the previous weekend thanks to the cheery holiday mood of ticket buyers. That could come as good news to Warner Bros. which might see its Vince Vaughn offering Fred Claus edge up by 10% to around $13M. Cume would hit $54M.
LAST YEAR Despite five new films opening in wide release over the turkey frame, moviegoers continued to spend their money on the same films as the top two spots remained unchanged. Sophomores Happy Feet and Casino Royale led the session with $37M and $30.8M, respectively, over three days. The penguin toon dipped only 11% while the rejuvenated Bond flick dropped by just 25% giving the pair a towering combined gross of $193M after ten days. Denzel Washington won the bronze with his new sci-fi actioner Deja Vu which bowed to $20.6M while the Christmas comedy Deck the Halls followed in fourth with a debut of $12M. Final grosses reached $64M and $35.1M. Borat rounded out the top five with $10.3M in its fourth weekend. Other new releases stumbled. MGM’s political drama Bobby expanded nationally and took in only $4.9M on its way to a weak $11.2M. Warner Bros. debuted its sci-fi drama The Fountain to the tune of $3.8M and New Line saw just $3.2M for its Jack Black pet project Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny. The pics ended their runs quickly with a measly $10.1M and $8.3M, respectively.
Sort of a Wizard of Oz in reverse, Enchanted is the story of
Giselle (Amy Adams), a princess in an animated magical kingdom who’s transported to the
streets of Manhattan by an evil queen (Susan Sarandon). There, she meets a
kindly lawyer (Patrick Dempsey) and attempts to negotiate the line between
fantasy and reality. The pundits say Enchanted lives up to its title,
featuring sharp gags, excellent animation, and a smart re-imagining of
fairy-tale tropes. But they hold out the highest praise for Adams, a sharp scene
stealer who makes the most of her top billing here. At 89 percent on the
Tomatometer, Enchanted is bewitching.
James Marsden challenges Dempsey for Sexiest Man Alive Runner-Up
springs forth from the collective minds of author Stephen King and
director Frank Darabont, the winning
combination that’s previously brought us The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. But
in their latest collaboration the two take a decidedly horrific bent: A small
town is terrorized by a group of deadly creatures lurking in a particularly
thick fog. Could a top-secret experiment at a nearby military base have anything
to do with it? Critics are less ecstatic with The Mist than previous King/Darabont
joints: they say the chills and thrills are there, and Darabont valiantly
attempts for a psychological depth rarely seen in horror, but he frequently
comes off as didactic and heavy-handed. At 69 percent Tomatometer, the gold shines through in The Mist. (Read our interview with the Mist cast and crew here.)
"That’s no moon, that’s a giant bug monster with pseudo-Biblical
Hitman stars Timothy Olyphant as an accomplished assassin named 47 who
stumbles into the midst of some political intrigue and goes on the run.
Considering the well-publicized news of Hitman’s reshoots and its origin
as a video game, it’s no surprise that the movie isn’t sitting well
with the critics. They call it vulgar, gratuitously violent, too reliant on CG
to propel the action, and just an overall dizzying blur of explosions and
bullets — the usual barbs critics reserve for video game adaptations, and
stuff that gets gamers off the couch and into the theaters. At 14 percent on the Tomatometer, looks like it’s game over, Hitman.
"Don’t worry. I did the Konami Code before this mission."
In August Rush, an orphan (Freddie
Highmore) runs away to New York,
where an overseer of young musicians (Robin Williams) recognizes
his guitar skills. As it turns out, the orphan was the product of a one-night
stand between a cellist (Keri Russell) and a singer-songwriter (Jonathan Rhys
Meyers), whom he now hopes to reunite. It’s a fairly absurd premise but the
performers give it their all, and goes a long way to overcome Kristen Sheridan‘s
sentimental and cloying direction. At 58 percent on the Tomatometer, August
Rush hits a sickly sweet note. (Read our interview with Freddie Highmore here.)
"It’s agreed. No ‘Stairway.’"
It’s time for another Christmas movie in which each member of a dysfunctional family brings
plenty of baggage with them to the yuletide festivities. Bah, humbug, right? Not
so fast. Critics say This Christmas is a delightful surprise, a solid
dramedy that, in lesser hands, could have been chaotic and mawkish. In Christmas
the members of the Whitfield clan returns home, setting off a maelstrom of
unresolved tensions and revelations. The pundits say director Preston A.
Whitmore II takes a variety of contrived plotines and deftly weaves them together with wit and
finesse, and the cast, which features such excellent thespians as Delroy Lindo, Regina King, Idris Elba, and Mekhi Phifer, is never less than stellar. At 65
percent on the Tomatometer, This Christmas is a pleasant gift.
"I hope it’s the Little Golden Book adaptation of Bioshock."
With No Country for Old Men, the Coen Brothers return to the moral
ambiguity, black humor, and horrifying violence that reverberated throughout
some of their best work, movies like Blood Simple and Fargo. And critics say
that’s a very, very good thing. Javier Bardem
stars as a psychopathic killer on the trail of an average Joe (Josh Brolin) who stumbles
across a huge sum of money. The pundits say No Country is a triumph:
grim, suspenseful, frightening, and loaded with pitch-perfect performances. At
96 percent on the No Country for Old Men is not only Certified Fresh, it’s one
of the best-reviewed films of the year and trails only Blood Simple
within the brothers’ filmography. (Check out our Total Recall feature on the Coens’ filmography here.)
“You don’t want to know what I’ll do if that Tomatometer drops below 90.”
RT caught up with Darabont and his three cast members during a
roundtable chat (memorably interrupted by Thomas Jane’s room service delivery) to discuss what humans are capable of under duress, Stephen King and
Frank Darabont’s working relationship, and how The Idiot’s Guide to Revelations
helped Marcia Gay Harden prepare for her role.
The Mist enters theaters everywhere this Wednesday.
Frank, what made you want to get behind the camera?
Frank Darabont: For 20 years of a career I’ve been primarily a writer for
hire. I’ve been a screenwriter first and a director on occasion. It’s only been
quite recently that I decided to reverse that equation and get behind the camera
as often as I could. I’m not getting any younger and I feel like I’ve got some
more movies to make.
Why another Stephen King adaptation?
FD: In all fairness, I think I have a particular
love for the man’s work. His voice as an author tends to attract me as a
director. I find the stories that he tells are extremely compelling, so it seems
to be a well that I keep going back to draw water from again and again. Luckily
he digs what I do. It seems like a pretty good companionship there in terms of
material and director.
Marcia, do you find it rare that scripts come along that
you get excited about?
Marcia Gay Harden: For me, it’s about character.
What’s the character arc? What can I do with the character? But not too many
come along that you get excited about. They are few and far between.
Thomas Jane and Marcia Gay Harden with other survivors.
What drew you to The Mist script?
MGH: Frank Darabont. I love his work and I love that
he tells a really human story. Often humans are far scarier than exterior
events. In this case, I thought that Frank told a beautiful story. I like
Stephen King, but I wasn’t one of the die-hard fans. So while I want to say it
was Stephen that drew me to it, it was the knowledge of the way [Darabont] tells
a story. It’s not the typical thing I curl up on the couch to read, so it was
Frank doing a Stephen King story that made it even bigger.
[Mist co-star] Andre Braugher and I spoke at length about the
script. My thought at first was, “It’s a bug movie, what is that going to be
like?” I spoke to Frank about that too and he really spoke about the internal
machinations in the store that has a Lord of the Flies feel, which was
the most terrifying book I ever read as a kid; the capacity for human beings to
be cruel and their ignorance is as scary as supernatural forces.
Chris Owen: For me it was Frank, too. I’m such a
fanboy and when people ask me what my favorite film is, it’s always Shawshank.
For me, getting to work with Frank was something I could scratch off my list. It
was so much fun.
How did you prepare to play such an apocalyptic
MGH: It was fantastic to play this lady. I bought
this book called The Idiot’s Guide to Revelations because a lot of her
speak is “Bible speak.” I wanted it to be as real as it could be, so that when I
talked about the Four Horsemen, I could be real with it.
And how did you approach carrying so much of the
Mist‘s suspense and drama?
MGH: I embraced fear. I didn’t want to let on at the
beginning that she would be trouble, so Frank and I worked on creating a person
that was less visually obvious than what had been written. We tried to create
someone who might blend in with the “normal folk.” Nor did I want to blame her
for the fact that she thought it was the end of the world — because there’s
bugs the size of skyscrapers coming out to eat people. I think if I saw that, I
might think that it was the end of the world. It’s not that far fetched. I
didn’t want it to be her religion, I wanted it to be more the degree to which
she takes the religion and is capable of doing such human acts of cruelty that
defies any logic. She creates a mob mentality, and the mob is a very scary
thing, so then the mob takes on the responsibility of that fear. Then it’s in
the hands of Frank and how he comes in on a shot, and how he films my face, or
when he cuts to someone looking at me. Those are the things, regardless of what
I do, [that] up the ante, because he’s the one building the tension every step
of the way.
Frank, you have said that you wanted this to be a
shot-fast, gut movie.
FD: For me as a filmmaker, it was a completely new
style I wanted to embrace, an aesthetic I’d never done before. This material
lent itself very well to that. I wanted a very ragged, in the moment,
documentary-style film. It was a much more improvised approach in terms of the
camerawork. We were shooting two cameras all the time, three if we could fit
them, roving at all times. We had two brilliant camera operators who were like
other cast members. The actors never knew where the cameras would wind up.
Your parents are survivors of the Hungarian Revolution
and you were born in a Hungarian refugee camp. Did that experience with the fear
of the unknown play into this film?
FD: Coming from that kind of a background, I grew up
with the grasp of a very dicey European history during the 20th
century, where things could change on a dime. Where comfort and safety could get
taken away and things could get ugly in a hurry. I’ve always valued America
because there’s generally stability here. I think that permeates your
understanding of the world and it certainly can’t help but trickle into your work.
As far as keeping the focus on the characters in this
movie, that’s a cue that comes originally from Steve King. That’s what I loved
about this story. Ultimately, it ain’t about the monsters outside, it’s about
the monsters — your friends and neighbors — that you’re stuck with inside.
What does fear do to people, what does panic do to people? What happens when the
rules are stripped away, when the veneer of civilization is dropped, how do
people behave and react? That was always how I viewed the story and what I
wanted to bring to it. Luckily, I had a cast that was on board and that trusted
me as a director.
in the mist.
Relationships between novelists and screenwriters can
often be tense. Why do you think your work with Stephen King have all been so
FD: I think probably because I really love his voice
as an author. He tends to — no matter how fundamentally wacky the premise of
something like this is — [guide] us through the world that he writes with
character in mind and that gets me really excited. His voice as an author is
something I respond to not only as a reader, but as a storyteller myself.
Something vibes with me in his work that makes me want to get behind a camera.
Luckily Steve seems to feel that we make a pretty good match. He’s never minded
the liberties I’ve taken with his material, but I think he’s also appreciated
that I’m trying to maintain his voice as a writer and try to be as true to his
intention as possible.
Stephen King’s last adaptation, 1408, was
extremely successful. Thomas, what keeps bringing audiences back to pay money to
Thomas Jane: That’s a philosophical-type question. I
don’t know anything about that.
Chris, since you mainly star in comedies, what attracted
you to be in a scary film?
CO: Well, it definitely started with the fact that
it was being done by Frank–
TJ: And that you got offered the role.
CO: …It’s always nice to be able to do something
different, and this was very different than anything that I’ve done before. At
least for me, I try to do as many genres of film as possible, so this was very
exciting. Especially since this script isn’t your average horror flick.
still in the mist..
What were the most valuable lessons and insights you
gained from making this film?
TJ: What the heck was your question, pal? Asking us
how making this movie changed our lives or something? Working on anything
there’s obviously going to be gains…
But there’s room service, so I gotta go get my hamburger.
FD: Speaking for myself, the insights I gained are
terrifically valuable in terms of my craft and the approach to what I do. I
learned to do things in more of an instinctive and ragged way. It amazed me how
immediate and in the moment the process can be, and the result on screen can be.
I imagine that it’s like any art form — you spend a part of your life learning
the rules — and then at a certain point you can get excited about throwing out
the rules that you know and just throwing paint at the canvas and seeing what
happens. That this came together as well as it did with a very loose approach
thrills me and excites me and I think it will inform my work in the future as
well. It’s a way to plug more into your instinctive flow.
Did the documentary-jazzy style of filmmaking influence
the actor’s process of performing for the camera? Do you do it differently that
for a film that is more traditionally shot?
TJ: Yeah, I think you do. It opens you up to know
that anything you say or do may be used on film …
FD: … and may be held against you in a court of law.
TJ: I guess it might shut some people down. But for
me, it really opened me up and made me feel like I could do anything I wanted
with my character and it wasn’t wrong. In acting, you’re always trying to find
the character and tell a story through the character. With this documentary kind
of style, you realize that we’re all humans and we’re capable of a whole hell of
a lot. So for me, it was quite liberating and I think that’s how you get sort of
a sense of truth on film.
FD: It takes a lot of courage to get into that and
my cast was tremendously courageous, whether it felt weird at first or not.
CO: It made it that much easier to immerse yourself
in it and really be in that moment, it was more free form. It wasn’t static.
What type of horror film is The Mist? Is it a
throwback or something new?
FD: I think it’s unique, whether it’s a throwback or
not. I do feel very satisfied in the notion that it’s not going to feel like
someone else’s movie, which is awesome. And it’s not going to feel like it’s in
that ghetto that horror often descends into. We saw the slasher film in the 80s
and so many movies were just following that formula. Now we’ve got the torture
films, which I personally have no use for at all. This is really a story [that]
is first and foremost about people. The fact that it’s a horror movie follows
that lead. I’m really happy with it from that standpoint. I didn’t want to make
something that felt like a cookie cutter, I wanted to make something that felt
like it counted for something, and I think we achieved that.