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Overall Rating

Awesome: 2.25%
Worth A Look: 3.37%
Average: 6.74%
Pretty Bad: 30.34%
Total Crap57.3%

7 reviews, 47 user ratings

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Fog, The (2005)
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by Mel Valentin

"Puts the 'crap' in craptacular. Avoid at all costs."
1 stars

When a studio passes up nearly cost-free publicity through advance screenings for the press or general public, it's a sure sign that studio executives believe they have an irredeemable stinker on their hands. Like most businessmen, studio executives aren't interested in art, at least not in unprofitable art. At minimum, they're interested in recouping their investment. In general, the majority of films are screened multiple times, first at critics-only screenings and second at advance screenings open to the general public. Advance screenings are of course meant to generate good word-of-mouth from audiences happy to see a "free" film (trading in an hour or two of their time waiting in line for a seat at the screening). When studios skip advance screenings, studio execs are fully aware that the word-of-mouth will be negative. Case in point, the remake of John Carpenter's John Carpenter's "The Fog," a simple, if still effective, supernatural horror tale.

For the remake of The Fog, Revolution Studios commissioned a new, updated script by Cooper Layne, hired a music video director with one horror film, Stigmata, to his credit, and hired several attractive, if bland, actors, including Tom Welling (Smallville), Maggie Grace (Lost), and Selma Blair (Hellboy), surrounded them with competent character actors, and hoped for the best, or at least solid box-office numbers from their non-discriminating target demographic eager to see the latest "PG-13" horror offering. But even the target demographic for The Fog is bound to be disappointed. By definition, films in the horror genre are designed to scare their audiences. Outside of one or two cheap scares added by the music score or soundtrack, the remake of The Fog fails to offer any scares, let alone a compelling storyline or characters to compensate for the shortage of scares.

The remake more or less follows Carpenter's original, with minimal, often superficial changes. For example, Carpenter's film was set in the fictional Antonio Bay, California. The remake is set on Antonio Island, Oregon. Setting the film on an island will apparently pay off at some later point in the film, when the central characters attempt to escape the vengeance-seeking ghosts inside fog (not surprisingly, it doesn't). Character wise, most of the names remain the same. Nick Castle (Tom Welling), a local fisherman, is still the nominal hero/protagonist, although he has less to do here than he did in the original. He's romantic involved with Elizabeth Williams (Maggie Grace), a local woman drawn back to Antonio Island by a series of disturbing visions or dreams.

New to the remake is Nick's relationship with Stevie Wayne (Selma Blair), a local radio DJ and radio station owner who operates from a lighthouse. In Elizabeth's absence, Nick and Stevie have had a casual fling. Stevie still has a son in the new version, Andy (Cole Heppell). Secondary characters include an alcoholic drunk, Father Malone (Adrian Hough), the town mayor, Tom Malone (Kenneth Welsh), and the head of civics association and Elizabeth's mother, Kathy (Sara Botsford). Screenwriter Cooper Lane also gives Nick a first mate, Spooner (DeRay Davis), the lone African-American character (not surprisingly, he functions as comic relief).

Outside of several new characters (e.g., the mayor, the first mate) and reconfigured relationships (e.g., making Elizabeth Kathy's daughter and a local, instead of a hitchhiker, as in the original), The Fog closely follows the original storyline. As The Fog opens, Antonio Island is a day away from celebrating the town's founding and the dedication of a new statue. As it turns out, Nick, Elizabeth, Stevie, the mayor and the priest are all descended from the town's founders (a new wrinkle missing from the original, but like other ideas, left woefully undeveloped). Of course, it wouldn't be called The Fog unless a fog rolled in, and it wouldn't be a remake of John Carpenter's film unless the fog brought with it a long-lost clipper ship and angry ghosts looking for retribution.

Alas, that's as far as the similarities go. Whereas John Carpenter's The Fog was an effective, efficient supernatural thriller that focused more on atmosphere and mood than scares or gore, the remake doesn't even atmospherics to recommend it. In Carpenter's films, the ghosts wore rags and bandages (as befitting their disfiguring condition when alive), dispatching their victims with meat hooks or scabbards (most of it left offscreen). The ghosts in the remake wear top hats and long coats, often standing in silhouette as the fog envelopes them, rarely emerging to do harm. Unlike the original, the fog here seems to be the malevolent force, not the ghosts in the fog. With the usual constraints associated with a PG-13 rating, when the fog or ghosts attack, it's bloodless, gore-free, and often offscreen. On the other hand, some audience members will be more than happy to learn that Maggie Grace first sits, then walks around in her underwear in one key scene (played for prurience rather than suspense or tension), while Selma Blair shows some leg in another (both are unnecessary). Members of the target demographic can also look "forward" to a bland, gratuitous, and perfunctory shower sex scene filmed through a mist-filled shower door between Nick and Elizabeth.

Thanks to tedious, overlong storyline (the original ran to barely 80 minutes, the remake runs 20 minutes longer, but it feels more like 40) that continually flashes backs to the events surrounding the ghosts and the town's founders, whatever minimal suspense or tension "The Fog" has (no thanks to the pedestrian direction by Rupert Wainwright), dissipates with the intrusion of each new flashback. The flashbacks serve to buttress the "unexpected" plot turn at the end of the film (it's as flaccid and unimaginative as every plot turn that precedes it). Oddly, Cooper Layne seems to have borrowed the major third-act plot turn from another superfluous remake, 1999's "The Haunting" (that and a final shot or series of shots lifted from Stanley Kubrick's ambiguous track-in to a photograph in "The Shining"). Wainwright deserves equal blame for relying on digital effects to create suspense or scares. They don't. Note to Layne and Wainwright (and future filmmakers hoping to work in the horror genre): stick to animatronics and old school makeup effects if you actually intend on scaring your audience. They worked for John Carpenter when he made and released "The Fog" and, with a strong screenplay and competent direction, they can work again.

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originally posted: 01/18/06 08:45:57
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User Comments

12/06/19 David Hollingsworth Completely unnecessary remake 1 stars
9/14/17 morris campbell lame as hell avoid it 1 stars
3/23/16 David H. The reason why some remakes are total crap 1 stars
3/17/12 Silkworm INCREDIBLY LAME REMAKE 1 stars
7/09/10 Not BeNamed This movie sucked ass how to delete previous comment? 1 stars
8/15/08 Shaun Wallner Well Made! 5 stars
3/10/08 Jayme Isaacs The Fog Remake Aint Nothing Compared To The Original Film 3 stars
6/14/07 Danielle Ophelia WHY? 1 stars
2/10/07 Charles Tatum Go rent the original, it wasn't as funny 1 stars
11/26/06 Stacie McCalla This was a great film it was so scare I think people that like scare films should see this 4 stars
11/10/06 American Slasher Goddess One of the worst mainstream horror movies in the past five years. 1 stars
8/02/06 Mark Louis Baumgart Rapes the original and gives us nothing back in its place. Bland and clueless. 1 stars
6/19/06 TreeTiger Please understand - this movie is one looong piece of turd... watch the original from 1980! 1 stars
4/07/06 N/A The movie was good it kept up our attention 5 stars
3/30/06 Indrid Cold About as good as the first one. In other words, a yawnfest. 2 stars
3/15/06 Shannon Robles didnt like this too much. go see the original 1 stars
3/03/06 chris f not bad just an average film 3 stars
2/27/06 Danny The original was much better, and even it wasn't great. 2 stars
2/17/06 Soha Molina bad 1 stars
2/11/06 Josh Standlee Why did they need a stereotypical black guy??? 1 stars
1/30/06 alice I dont get it, why dont they focus more on: CAN THEY ACT instead of: SEXY AND YOUNG?? 2 stars
12/15/05 Tiffany Thunderhurst Begins rather intriguingly but degenerates into random sight gags without coherent story. 2 stars
12/14/05 What WHY? WHY? WHY? 1 stars
11/22/05 Stefan Halka I prefer the original even though there is no beautiful people in them. 2 stars
11/20/05 Evil Wolfie So many chances to be scary, but they screw up every single one.Total letdown. 2 stars
11/13/05 cypress pretty damn bad, who got paid to do this movie?? 1 stars
11/10/05 Erik Van Sant The worst film of the year. Utter fucking waste of film. 1 stars
11/07/05 Trey I like bad horror movies, but this one was impossible to watch. 1 stars
11/05/05 jay good movie- watches forget its a movie use your imagination 4 stars
11/05/05 PAG Really bad. Awful. 1 stars
11/01/05 John barely competent film making - unbelievably bad 1 stars
10/26/05 shhhhhh quiet deffinently the worst movie I've seen since "ENVY" with jack black 1 stars
10/23/05 baseball-nut Why remakes always suck is beyond me! .. Should've left it alone, idiots! 1 stars
10/21/05 ShadowFace5 Did I dose off and miss something? 2 stars
10/20/05 odditie Why do they make movies like this? 2 stars
10/19/05 the untrained eye Selma Blair still rocks.. movie not so much 2 stars
10/19/05 CIARA IT'S ALL RIGHT 3 stars
10/19/05 Ashley Anderson i think it was a pretty good movie it made you jump but the ending was sweet!! 4 stars
10/18/05 Michelle Worst thing I've ever seen!!! I love every movie, except this one. Not entertaining. 1 stars
10/18/05 CajunGurl This movie sux!!! Plz do not waste your money on this horrible movie. 1 stars
10/17/05 jason watch this then rent the original for some real fun!!!! 3 stars
10/17/05 SD Horrible and Boring. Don't waste your time or money. 1 stars
10/17/05 David Fowler Unspeakably bad remake of Carpenter's 2nd best film. A shameful atrocity. 1 stars
10/16/05 Matt Holland Not so bad 3 stars
10/16/05 Anus The FAG lol 1 stars
10/15/05 Erik Nolan Not as good as the orginal, but not bad. 3 stars
10/15/05 Pooly Okay. If you enjoyed this movie you probably should consider suicide. 1 stars
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  14-Oct-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 24-Jan-2005

  24-Feb-2006 (15)


Directed by
  Rupert Wainwright

Written by
  Cooper Layne

  Tom Welling
  Maggie Grace
  Selma Blair
  DeRay Davis
  Rade Serbedzija
  Kenneth Welsh

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