The Fog (2005)

Synopsis: The past has come back to haunt them.

From producer John Carpenter comes the all-new retelling of his terror classic, The Fog. Tom Welling (TV’s “Smallville”), Maggie Grave (TV’s “Lost”) and Selma Blair (Hellboy) star in this senses-shattering tale of demonic retribution, directed by Rupert Wainwright (Stigmata) with screenplay by Cooper Layne.

Trapped within an eerie mist, the residents of Antonio Bay have become the unwitting victims of a horrifying vengeance. One hundred years ago, a ship carrying lepers was purposely lured onto the rocky coastline and sunk, drowning all aboard. Now they’re back, long-dead mariners who’ve waited a century for their revenge. Seeking out the descendents of those responsible for their deaths, they lurk enshrouded within a supernatural fog of terror. Beware, any and all who stand in their way.
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The Fog (2005) 3.5

When I heard that they had remade the John Carpenter film ‘The Fog’, I was extremely surprised: the first one had actually helped to shake my faith in the revered filmmaker’s skill. Truth be told: it just wasn’t all that great. Of course, by then, I had already seen ‘Big Trouble in Little China’ and ‘Prince of Darkness’; the three together conspired to make me think that Carpenter might have gotten lucky with ‘Halloween’ and ‘The Thing’.

So, accordingly, the notion of remaking a not-so-good movie for a modern audience really didn’t sound that appealing to me.

The fact that the film revolves around one gimmick, fog, didn’t help matters much. I mean, really, it can create atmosphere – but can it sow fear in the hearts of moviegoers?

In my opinion, the only way for it to work is to have something else other than fog, other layers. The problem is that the original didn’t have much going for it other than fog (and its eerie green glow): the scares were few and far between, the performances were all decent, but unspectacular, and the basic plot was quite alright – for a Scooby-Doo episode (I like Scooby as much as the next person, but, really, I want my scary movies to be more sophisticated than that ).

Well, for the remake, they started by taking the film’s sole gimmick…. and spoiled it: the fog, which was presumably made with CGI, doesn’t look real at all! That’s like making a Godzilla movie with a guy jumping around in a suit.

No, wait!

I mean, it’s like making a slasher film with fire engine-red paint instead of blood!

Eek… I’m not getting this right.

It’s like having an actor hold a plastic piranha to his neck to simulate a flying fish attack!

Okay, I give up – I’m terrible at analogies. It doesn’t work for me…

…much like this film.

The whole thing feels like a cheesy, straight-to-video production. Or even a TV movie:

-The actors have so little personality that you can’t be made to care for them whatsoever. It’s not that they’re especially bad (although some are!), they’re just mostly extremely anemic and flavourless.

-The characters do things that don’t make sense and situations are pasted together that don’t really work. Clearly no one (writer/director/actor) put any thought into whether or not people act/react the way they do in this film.

-The directing is horrendous (case-in-point: there’s a scene on boat where some girls are “dancing” to music they obviously can’t hear and it looks like the boat’s in a large pool. And there’s another scene when the lead actress tramples towards the camera and falls in the water; it looked like she had never walked before )

Then there are all the unresolved questions (beware of spoilers!):

-why was the girl having nightmares and then decided to come back to town?
-why was this same girl researching the town’s history and what did that do for her (or us, the audience)?
-why did they all take refuge in an unprotected space, where they could easily be picked off?
-why was the girl (again!) taken by the ghosts? What is her significance to them?
-why did the ghosts stop terrorizing the village after the girl joined them? Didn’t they want revenge on the townies for what had been done to them? (Seems to me like that’s a poor trade-off, all things considered… )
-why was I expected to care? And how?

Anyway, let me wrap it up with succinctly: ‘The Fog (2005)’ is waaaaaay worse than Carpenter’s original – which was lame enough as it is. The key difference is that, instead of being boring and cheesy, this “new and improved” version is astonishingly inept and cloudy.

Frankly, they should have called it ‘The Miasma’ instead.

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