Sunday, October 28, 2012

Horror Film Review

The Fog (2005):  Like The Thing, this is another remake of a John Carpenter classic.  I remember seeing the original when I was 14 years old.  I was spending the night at a friend's house.  He lived on a lake...and we were all alone.  Hm.  Let's just say sleep did not come easily that night.  Scared the ever-loving shit out of us, is what it did, and put me off horror films for a few years.  There is, however, no danger of that happening again with this remake, and the reasons are anything but foggy.

The six founding fathers of Antonio Island, off the coast of Oregon, did a bad thing back in 1871 to ensure the prosperity of their community.  They made a deal with a ship of lepers to sell a portion of the island so these poor, afflicted souls could finally have a permanent home.  Of course the fathers reneged, plundered the ship, and murdered everyone by setting it ablaze.  Now, 134 years later, it's revenge time.  Why 134 years?  Dunno.  In Carpenter's 1980 version, the payback was predicated on the town's 100th anniversary, which actually makes some kind of sense.  Anyway...

Main characters are fishing boat captain Nick Castle (Tom Snelling from Smallville), his recently returned girlfriend Elizabeth (Maggie Grace), local lighthouse DJ Stevie (Selma Blair) and her young son Andy (Cole Heppell), and drunk priest Father Malone (Adrian Hough).  So fog rolls in and folks start dying in some, frankly, pedestrian ways (thrown through a window, knife in the eye, fire...twice, drowning, stabbed with broken glass, etc.).  Elizabeth figures out the secret, apparently feels a strange connection to the 134 year-old events, and everyone retreats to a museum for the final encounter.  They retreated to a church in the original, which actually makes some kind of sense.  Ultimately, we end up in a cemetery where the ghosts kill the descendant of the guy who set their ship on fire.  Nick and Elizabeth watch and then instead of running, Elizabeth walks up to the leper ghost captain and...wait for it...kisses him.  Suddenly, she's wearing 19th century clothing and vanishes along with the leper ghosts.  Nick searches but she's gone.  Yes, my first thought also was, "What the hell?"  No explanation except for a final shot of an old photo in the museum showing the captain and his wife who, obviously, is Elizabeth.  Is she the reincarnation of the dead wife?  Dunno.  Was she a ghost all along?  Dunno.  Will it make you want to smack the crap out of the filmmakers?  Definitely.

Are there more plot holes and related incomprehension to be found?  Oh, my goodness, yes.  The worst has to be the old dude on the beach with the metal detector.  Walking along, the device beeps at a pile of seaweed.  He looks up and there's a dining room table and chairs with full place settings just standing there on the sand as if plucked from a wealthy family's home.  He doesn't seem fazed by this and pokes around in the seaweed to learn what treasure the detector found for him.  It's a rope.  It's a big rope.  He pulls on it and finds that it trails out to sea.  So what's he do?  Follows the rope into the surf until he drowns.  I mean, really.  First of all, since when do METAL detectors beep at rope fibers?  Why are the table and chairs there and why didn't he care?  And the guy's not suicidal so why the saltwater walkabout?  This is but a taste of the WTF factor in this film.

The 2005 version of The Fog is a slapdash affair geared toward teenagers.  Only a few new pages of script were written which explains why character and place names are the same as in the original.  They went with PG-13 (the original was R) so deaths are lame.  The cast is something you'd find in a run-of-the-mill teen slasher flick.  In the original, you had the likes of Jamie Lee Curtis, Adrienne Barbeau, Janet Leigh, John Houseman, and Hal Holbrook.  I know.  Awesome, right?  The filmmakers should have done what the folks behind The Thing remake did...reimagine the story and make it their own instead of copying the original and then changing a few bits for a target audience.  And who pays the price for their laziness?  We do.  Well...I do. 


Acting:  What you'd find in a teen slasher flick.  That is to say, more than a little stinky.  Not even Superman could save them.  Apparently.
Story:  The plot tweaks are detrimental.  Not to mention assinine.
Direction:  Lost in the fog.
Production Values:  Hollywood slick which doesn't jibe with how gritty the story is (should be).
Gore/FX:  PG-13, remember?  Lots of CGI fog, of course.  Most of the time the fog looks like something you'd find in a Whitesnake video.
Scares:  Much potential, little realized. 
Ending:  How does that line go?  Stupid is as stupid does?  It did and does. 
Verdict:  Should you see The Fog?  Yes, you should.  Oh, the remake?  Jesus, no.  Why on earth would you do that?  Just think of it as kryptonite.

Rating:  1 out of 5

1 comment:

  1. Hey guy - thanks for the early morning laugh!