The Fog
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir Rupert Wainwright
scr Cooper Layne
with Tom Welling, Maggie Grace, Selma Blair, DeRay Davis, Kenneth Welsh, Adrian Hough, Sara Botsford, Cole Heppell, Mary Black, Jonathon Young, R Nelson Brown, Matthew Currie Holmes
release US 14.Oct.05,
UK 24.Feb.06
05/US Revolution 1h40

Pea soup: Grace, Heppell and Welling

welling grace blair

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The Fog Here's yet another perplexing remake that adds virtually nothing to the original--no updating, no post-modern wit, no whizzy new effects. It's just as cheesy as John Carpenter's 1980 original, really.

Nick (Welling) is descended from one of the four founding fathers of Antonio Island, Oregon. He enjoys his quiet life there running a charter fishing boat with his pal (Davis). But the sins of the fathers are about to be visited on the town, as Nick stirs up old ghosts who invade the island in a marauding fogbank. Other descendants include Nick's recently returned girlfriend (Grace), a drunken priest (Hough) and a local DJ (Blair) who's worried about strange things her son (Heppell) finds on the beach.

There's not really much to this film, plot-wise; it just takes awhile for the simple premise to finally reveal itself. Before we get the explanation, there's a series of inexplicable horror set pieces in which foggy things make very loud noises and bring death in the messiest way possible. For a horror film, it's not remotely inventive or scary--the jolts rely completely on the jarring soundtrack and some icky imagery. Around this is a clunky script that's painfully obvious--cheap scares, corny dialog and silly secrets from 1871.

The cast is fine, even though the characters aren't very interesting. Welling makes an engaging leading man, looking properly adult after about 12 years as a teenager on TV. He even gets a completely gratuitous shower cuddle scene with Grace. And Blair at least drums up a slightly trashy edge for the film, which is otherwise so squeaky clean that it hurts. Everyone else is fairly disposable.

Wainwright holds it together stylishly, although the fog itself looks suspiciously smoky, and he seems far too excited by shattering glass and car crashes, both of which are shown frequently in loving slow motion. If you want to be frightened, don't bother with this remake. But for a walk down memory lane to a time when tacky thrills were enough, it's certainly good for a laugh.

cert 15 themes, violence, grisliness 7.Dec.05

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2005 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall