The Fog (1980) / Horror

MPAA Rated: R for violence, scary images, some gore, and language
Running Time: 89 min.

Cast: Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, Hal Holbrook, Tom Atkins, James Canning, Charles Cyphers, John Houseman, Ty Mitchell, John F. Goff, George "Buck" Flower, John Carpenter
Director: John Carpenter
Screenplay: John Carpenter, Debra Hill
Review published August 11, 2005

The small community at Antonio Bay is celebrating their centennial.  It's a cause for celebration, but also concern, as strange events start to occur after midnight when the fog rolls in.  At the same time, evidence is discovered of events that transpired 100 years before involving an abhorrent occurrence that resulted in the town's founding.  As people in the town begin dying in strange and gruesome ways, is it a coincidence, or are the ghosts of the past returning for retribution?

Although The Fog has enough followers to achieve a modest cult status, the truth is, it is a lesser John Carpenter work, and probably only appealing to genre purists.  It is certainly stylish, as you'd expect from Carpenter, but the straightforward storyline isn't particularly interesting.  It is atmospheric and creepy in its own way, but unless you've led a sheltered existence and have never seen a horror flick, it is also not all that scary. 

The lighting and special effects are competent for their time, and the cast of famous b-movie actresses (Barbeau and the mother/daughter team of Janet Leigh and Jamie Lee Curtis) is lively and fun to watch.  While the technical qualities are solid, the story still feels skimpy, and it's certainly not as viscerally absorbing as Carpenter's previous efforts, Halloween and Assault on Precinct 13.

Ultimately, The Fog lives up to its name by lacking any solid substance, becoming inherently vapid, finally imbuing us with little more than a slightly chilling atmosphere. 

-- Needlessly
remade in 2005.

Qwipster's rating:

2005 Vince Leo