The Fog (2005)
By: J.R. McNamara on June 23, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
Sony (Australia). Region 2, 4 & 5 PAL. 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, Czech DD 5.1, Hungarian DD 5.1, Polish DD 5.1. English, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Dutch, Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Greek, Hindi, Icelandic, Romanian, Serbian, Slovenian, Turkish, English, (FHI) Subtitles. 99 minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director: Rupert Wainwright
Starring: Tom Welling, Maggie Grace, Selma Blair, DeRay Davis
Screenplay: Cooper Layne
Country: USA
Remakes, remakes, remakes…you better get used to them, folks, because they are here to stay. The remake has always been something that Hollywood has used as a tool to get people into a movie. Give the people a name that is familiar, and they will see it just because somewhere in their mind they have heard something about it. Not only that, but fans of the original use their internal critic to compare it to the original, and then get to use the phrase 'It's not as good as the first one.' Sometimes remakes work really well, John Carpenter's The Thing and Croenenberg's The Fly are great examples of that. Occasionally remakes almost get it right, like the remakes of Dawn of the Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre…and then there are those that just don't work. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the remake of John Carpenter's The Fog.

This is the story about Nick Castle (Tom Welling) who has a charter boat service on the waters of Antonio Island, Oregon, which is about to celebrate it centenary. Nick, like others from the town, including prodigal daughter and girlfriend of Nick, Elizabeth Williams (Maggie Grace) and her mother Kathy (Sara Botsford), local radio personality and Tom's occasional piece on the side Stevie Wayne (Selma Blair) and her son, Andy (Cole Heppell), and local priest Father Malone (Adrian Hough), are all related to the town's four founding fathers, on which the celebration for the centenary is to be held around, including the presentation of a statue of the four to the town itself. Nick is not too impressed with his grand heritage, and believes the money being spent on the celebration could be better spent on the town itself. When Nick's friend, Spooner (DeRay Davis) doesn't come back from a night out partying on the sea in his boat, Nick goes searching for him, only to find him hiding in the freezer of the boat, with three corpses on board, and declaring they were killed by something in the fog… the same fog that has started to roll in off the sea and into the town…a fog that contains something that wants revenge.

It is hard to argue for the benefits of 'the remake' when films like this exist. The original worked so well due to the build up of tension. This films biggest problem is there is NO tension, and the characters are so wishy washy that you really couldn't give a damn WHAT happens to them anyway. Tension works best in a film when there is some emotional involvement from the viewer to the character, and you care about what happens to them, this is not the case here. The direction of this film is passable, but the performances extracted from the cast are below average. There are some classic examples of miscasting (Selma Blair as the mother of a ten year old just doesn't quite work, and let's face it, doesn't quite hold up to the sultry Adrienne Barbeau, who played the same role in the original). The script must have read like a Little Golden Book as the viewer is treated like an idiot and led hand in hand through the story and everything is explained very carefully, and this is all notwithstanding the most ridiculous case of purposeless obstruction of justice ever seen in the history of cinema. There is a re-incarnation plot device that is obvious very early, and is executed so badly it is almost laughable, and makes no sense. I understand that most of these remakes use slightly different plot devices to differentiate the original from the sequel, but this one was just plain out stupid.

Now I am no detractor of remakes, I actually really liked the remakes of Dawn of the Dead and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but I am disappointed to see that John Carpenter, a man who's career is defined by probably the best remake ever in The Thing, would have allowed his original story to be fed to a modern audience in this insulting manner.
Video
The quality is quite crisp, but I found the digital fog let the overall image down. The image of the fog on occasion was really flat, and seemed to lack depth. As usual though, these big studio releases have images that are impeccable.
Audio
Again, a big studio release that has a spectacular 5.1 soundtrack…it is a shame that its ability to use sound to create a feeling of unease was not used in the slightest.
Extra Features
The commentary is done by director Rupert Wainwright, and while not spectacular, it still is pretty informative. He discusses the tools of making a film, some of the performances within, and recounts some amusing anecdotes.

There are 7 deleted scenes (13 minutes 10 seconds in total) that can be watched with or without a commentary by Wainwright, they are: Sean and Lucas see Machen, Andy Tucked Into Bed, Elizabeth and Mom, Lantern Flies and Dan's Death, The Fog Disables the Power Station, Entire Flashback and Fireball Through Town Hall. To be quite honest this film could have done with a few more cuts, about 99 minutes of them! There are pedestrian scenes that really don't effect the run of the film at all, and Wainright gives a rundown of each clip, and tells why they were cut

There are 3 featurettes on this disc: Whiteout Conditions: The Remaking of a Horror Classic (8 minutes 24 seconds) which is an introduction to The Fog and has interviews with Producers John Carpenter and David Foster, writer Cooper Layne and director Rupert Wainwright, Seeing Through the Fog (10 minutes 7 seconds) which discusses the origins of the original and the choices made with the remake and remakes in general and features interviews with Carpenter, Wainwright, Foster, Tom Welling, Maggie Grace, Selma Blair and DeRay Davis and Feeling the Effects of the Fog (14 minutes 29 seconds) again interviews Carpenter, Wainwright, Foster and also adds SFX guy Bob Comer, Prosthetic Effects expert Toby Lindala, Visual Effects Supervisor Chris Watts and Visual Effects Designers Greg and Colin Strause to the mix. These are your usual makings of, with the last one being the most interesting if you have an interest in Special Effects.

This disc has trailer for The Da Vinci Code, Rent, The Net 2.0, The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Into the Blue.
The Verdict
This is a cookie cutter film. The makers have obviously looked at the checklist for modern horror and ticked everything off. Bankable title – check. TV stars in lead roles – check. Crazy old hobo who speaks prophetically – check. Excessive use of CGI where a smoke machine and funky lights previously worked – check. A faux ironic ending – check.

A soul-less, unnecessary, disappointing remake which makes me so mad that I don't think I even want to watch the original ever again.
Movie Score
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