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Overall Rating
1.64

Awesome: 2.27%
Worth A Look: 3.41%
Average: 6.82%
Pretty Bad: 30.68%
Total Crap56.82%

7 reviews, 46 user ratings


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Fog, The (2005)
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by Doug Bentin

"The fog creeps in on little cat feet . . . and then stumbles."
1 stars

Finally, I think I’m getting a grip on this horror movie remake thing, and why the second version of the material is usually so stinky. Sorry to be such a pest about it but I’ve never outgrown the genre and I think about stuff like this when I’m supposed to be working on other things. You know how it is.

So what I’m thinking now is that, in many cases, it’s all a matter of experience. The guys who made the first version of the picture had it and the guys working on the remake don’t. Director Rupert Wainwright made a limp picture called “Stigmata,” and his leads in “The Fog” have had success on TV—Tom Welling on “Smallville” and Maggie Grace on “Lost”—but none of them are recognizable horroristas.

Carpenter’s version featured Jamie Lee Curtis, Charles Cyphers, and Nancy Loomis, fresh from “Halloween,” Janet Leigh of “Psycho” fame, and was held in place by Hal Holbrook, who could do anything. Of course, Carpenter himself and producing/writing partner Debra Hill were known for “Halloween,” too.

My point is that audiences in 1980 had expectations due to their familiarity with these names and faces, and so part of the work of scaring them had already been done. Of course modern Hollywood knows that audiences bring expectations to the theater with them. That’s why trailers today are essentially two-minute condensations of the films they are designed to promote. The Marketing Brains in El Lay are convinced that the butts in theater seats don’t want to be surprised by anything in a new picture. The brains sitting atop those butts don’t seem to matter.

A few years ago I took part in a round table interview with Dan Aykroyd re the opening of “Pearl Harbor.” He seemed a little tense due, I thought, to a perception that we film writers didn’t care much for the movie so I tried to loosen him up by asking him if he had enjoyed with working with Ivan Reitman again. “Evolution” was opening soon and Aykroyd had been featured in the trailer.

He told me that he hadn’t worked with Reitman in a while, I said “But you’re in ‘Evolution,’ and he said “I’m not in that movie,” and I said “You’re in the trailer,” and he got angry.

“I hate that goddamn trailer!” he snarled. “Ivan and I asked them not to use it.”

It seems that the marketing crew insisted that Aykroyd’s face be seen in the trailer in hopes that he would sell a few tickets. Aykroyd and Reitman wanted his last act entry into the story to come as a surprise. Marketing didn’t want any surprises.

This may seem pretty far removed from the remake of “The Fog,” but it’s all part of my point that film promoters want you to know exactly what you’re getting when you plunk your butt into the seat, and one of the ways to formulate expectations for a horror movie is to cast it with actors who are familiar faces from previous fright films. Good titles help, too. If you think people didn’t have specific expectations for a movie called “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” think again.

Even “The Fog,” as a title, has a little of that foreboding attached to it. Like “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th,” it makes us think of something traditionally associated with unease.

Anyway, audiences for the new version may know its leads as TV actors, but they don’t know them as frighteners so their attitude may be one of “show me.” And “The Fog” doesn’t have much to show.

Set on Antonio Island off the coast of Oregon, the film wants to be a traditional campfire ghost story, but someone needs to throw more kindling on the flames. Carpenter began his film with a literal campfire and an old man telling this tale to a group of spellbound kids. Note, too the inside horror fan joke of naming the elderly storyteller Mr. Machen, a reference to Arthur Machen, the late Victorian author of “The White People” and other creepy tales.

Also, the original picture ends with a short, sharp shock, the kind of GOTCHA adults love to throw at kids at the end of a spooky story. In other words, it’s all just a ghostly yarn for a dark night. Pass the marshmallows.

Wainwright and screenwriter Cooper Layne have chosen to jettison this framework and present the film as if it were telling a story that really happened.

Nick Castle—a name taken from the original script, Nick Castle being the actor who played Michael Meyers in “Halloween,” an inside joke that has no meaning now—runs a fishing boat charter. His anchor dredges up a chest from the bottom of the ocean and then eerie ghosts from the area’s past inhabit and travel around in a thick fog. And I mean really thick. So thick, in fact, it can hurl bodies through windows. The ghosts seek to take revenge on the people of the island for wrongs done to them in 1871. Why they do this, in part, by emerging from a kitchen sink drain is beyond me.

It isn’t giving away a shock moment to tell you about the ghost arm shooting up from the drain to grab the sucker at the sink. The action is set up so poorly through give-away camera angles, Wainwright might as well have inserted a flashing warning on the screen reading “Scare Coming Up. Please Close Your Eyes and Scream.”

My other favorite moment of jaw-dropping stupidity comes when Grace’s character is left alone in a makeshift morgue room with the corpse of a victim on a table, covered by a sheet. She is in the foreground, the body and the table behind her by several yards of distance.

Yes, it’s that patented John Carpenter gag in which the corpse sits up behind her, rises from the table, and begins shambling towards us. She hears nothing. Dead bodies don’t make any noise when they stumble around, but then, if it suits the moment, no one makes any noise when they move in a horror movie.

So the re-animated corpse whispers something to Grace and then collapses at her feet as she lets out a scream or two. The Welling protagonist rushes, along with the town’s mayor and a cop, and one or two other guys.

At this point in the story, the men in authority have no reason to believe that anything supernatural is going on, so from their point of view the girl must have wrapped her arms around the corpse, dragged it off the table and lugged it across the room, then dropped it and started yelling. Do any of them ask her why she did such a morbid, not to say stupid, thing? Is she questioned? Is she held for questioning? No, we immediately see her and Nick leaving the area together.

Of course it’s customary for characters doing what would appear to any sane person to be inexplicable things to remain unchallenged in cheesy horror movies, but such situations always elicit an inner groan of incredulity from me, accompanied by a hasty return of any disbelief I’d been able to willingly suspend up to that point.

Despite perambulating corpses, the film isn’t at all gory, even when to leave out the blood makes what you see on the screen just plain silly. Shards of glass penetrate a man’s torso, ripping his clothes but causing no bleeding.

“The Fog” isn’t the worst, but it barely makes it up to the mediocre level. And if you’re wondering why John Carpenter would produce such a lousy remake of one of his own films, my bet would be that receiving a producer credit was part of the deal he made with this new production company, and that he didn’t have much, if anything, to do with the actual manufacturing of the movie.

He should have settled for the money.

If you’re frightened by loud noises, “The Fog” will scare you silly. If it takes realistic characterization, careful plotting, well-controlled atmosphere, and an aura of mystery, forget about it.

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=13169&reviewer=405
originally posted: 10/27/05 03:05:41
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Horror Remakes: For more in the Horror Remakes series, click here.

User Comments

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
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  14-Oct-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 24-Jan-2005

UK
  24-Feb-2006 (15)

Australia
  02-Feb-2006


Directed by
  Rupert Wainwright

Written by
  Cooper Layne

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



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