The Fog (2005) / Horror-Action
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for violence, sexuality and some language (I'd rate it R)
Running Time: 100 min.
Cast: Tom Welling, Maggie Grace, Selma Blair, DeRay Davis, Kenneth Welsh, Adrian Hough, Sara Botsford, Cole Heppell, Mary Black
Director: Rupert Wainwright
Screenplay: Cooper Layne (based on the 1980 screenplay by John Carpenter and Debra Hill)
Review published October 24, 2005
The original 1980 John Carpenter chiller, The Fog, wasn't a great film by any means, but it did have interesting atmospherics, and has achieved a minor cult status for lover of old school horror. Even so, it isn't considered a very good movie, so the potential is there to make an even better film, if only someone had the talent and vision to do so. Twenty-five years later, it's clear that director Rupert Wainwright (Stigmata, Blank Check) and screenwriter Cooper Layne (The Core) fall short, as they replace the one thing the original film had going for it, the aforementioned creepy atmosphere, and replace it with mundane special effects and formulaic modern horror clichés. The Fog of 2005 suffers from having no distinction, a complete amalgamation of teen slash and Asian-influenced booga-booga ghost revenge films. Call Carpenter's original flawed, but at least he had a vision. Wainwright has none, save to look at the blueprint set by all of the other horror films made today and to replicate them as faithfully as possible.
The town of Antonio Bay, Oregon, is celebrating its centennial since being founded a century ago, erecting a statue of the founding fathers and planning a major gala that evening. That celebration may never come, as a heavy fog has moved into the area, and many people that are encompassed by it end up losing their lives, in mostly grisly ways. It seems that the fog is governed by supernatural forces out for revenge, and the answer to the reasons why they are tormenting the town stem from the events that happened over 100 years ago.
The Fog's appeal is primarily limited to viewers looking for a few bumps and jumps. Anyone looking for logic to any of it will stay hungry, as it's never really clear what the ultimate objective of the ghosts in the fog are, save for the revenge angle. It's also not really clear what the extent of the power of the apparitions are, as they seem nearly omnipotent during certain scenes, while in the next scene they are stymied for reasons that make little sense. They must also be bored by their own methods of revenge, as they have to find different ways of dispatching each successive victim. It becomes clear that the creators of this b-grade film only care about the scare, never bothering to make the phenomena surrounding the mystery the slightest bit interesting or intelligent.
It's hard to really gripe, as it is clear that most people that watch The Fog will not really be expecting a good movie. What they also may not expect is to be thoroughly bored, as there are very few genuinely scary moments to be found, and even in those few scenes where Wainwright goes for a jolt, the scare is telegraphed so far in advance, there's no surprise factor at all. The bane of The Fog's existence goes beyond the lack of inspiration or limited talent; it is downright boring, which in the world of horror-thrillers, is the death knell for any chance of success.
Carpenter couldn't make much out of his original, and this update fares even worse. At this point it should be evident that there's nothing to this story that merits making into a major motion picture, which will hopefully quell any future filmmakers intentions from trying to succeed through repeated attempts. The Fog is vaporous entertainment, rolling in and out without much notice, too dim and insubstantial to leave a lasting impression.
©2005 Vince Leo