The original 1980 film version of “The Fog” was John Carpenter’s clever, scary follow up to his massive hit “Halloween”. It’s a lean, mean ghost story and one of my favorite Carpenter hits to revisit.
So why remake it 25 years later? Is there really any reason to return to the shores of Antonio Bay and tell the same story?
The basics remain the same. As the town off the coast of Oregon prepares to celebrate its town founders, some deadly ghosts from a restless sea come back to wreak bloody havoc.
Nick (Tom Welling from “Smallville”) is a local fisherman, whose girlfriend Elizabeth (Maggie Grace) has just returned to town after six months in NYC. Her big city aspirations and his small-town fisherman roots provide little conflict beyond the predictable.
Selma Blair is local DJ Stevie Wayne, a pale comparison to Adrienne Barbeau in the original, but it’s not as if the script gives her much to do.
Strange things start happening in the town every time the fog rolls in. With none of the leisurely, tension-building structure that was so prevalent in the original, we’re thrust into the horror of the advancing fog almost immediately.
Screenwriter Cooper Layne (The Core) rehashes Carpenter and Debra Hill’s original screenplay with little style.
The cast plods along and Welling & Grace are ok, but only Adrian Hough gives a new edge to the cast as Father Malone, who was played by Hal Holbrook in the 1980 version.
The special effects are better than the first film, but nothing offers the true dread and shock of Carpenter’s version. Carpenter said about this new version and his role as producer, “I come in and say hello to everybody and then go home”.
This was director Rupert Wainwright’s last feature film.
The motivation for remaking a horror classic and offering nothing new in your take seems all too common in this genre. It’s a shame. Carpenter’s original deserves better and is always worth a re-watch.
This one’s hopelessly lost in the mist and gets a D.