Publicity Stills of "The Fog"
(Courtesy from Columbia TriStar)

Photo by: Rob McEwan

Photo by Rob McEwan

Genre: Horror/Thriller
Director: Rupert Wainwright
Cast: Tom Welling, Maggie Grace and DeRay Davis
RunTime: 1 hr 40 mins
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Rating: PG (Horror)

Opening Day: 16 Feb 2006


In Revolution Studio’s horror / thriller The FOG, there really is something there in the dark.
One hundred years ago, in a thick, eerie fog off the rocky coast of Northern California, a horrible shipwreck occurred under mysterious circumstances. Now, shrouded in darkness, the ghosts of the long-dead sailors have returned from their watery graves to exact their bloody, merciless revenge.

Movie Review:

Coming across as just another elemental horror movie and a cheap remake that seems to cash in on the remarkable original, “The Fog” seems to be just another run-of-the-mill production from Hollywood. Nevertheless, this film has its strengths on its own merits and do gives its predecessor a run for its money. Strategically-timed shock tactics aside, this film’s impact hinges on its ability to vividly portray and paint a well-rounded picture of the history of an old town, in this case Antonio Bay. The film is able to move at a progressive pace to depict the daily lives of the residents of Antonio Bay before terror strikes, a feat that is casually dismissed by recent film directors as a drag. Ignorantly substituting narratives for thrills and actions, this has become a costly mistake, compromising the quality of recent films.

For audiences who have not watched director John Carpenter’s 1980 classic original, “The Fog” is about a group of mysterious beings who co-exist with the fog and without giving too much of the story away, let’s just say that vengeance is the thematic element. The story centers on a few prominent residents of Antonio Bay and the somewhat murky history of the fishing town. The prominent element of this town is the lighthouse, which doubles up as the residence of the only radio station in town. With the lighthouse providing the guiding lights for the fishing yachts out at sea, the radio station provides music and solace for the lonely in Antonio. Together, the lighthouse is an epitome of safety and companionship.

Tom Welling (last seen as Clark Kent in “Smallville”) resumes his heroic status here as Nick Castle, a seaman adept at some seafaring adventures as well as being a skilled driver on land. Getting back to the movie scene, Maggie Grace (last seen as the rich, spoilt brat in the acclaimed TV serial “Lost”) plays Elizabeth, a mysterious lady who returns to Antonio Bay after a long time with strange memories. The film is also supported by Selma Blair as Stevie Wayne, the legendary woman from the classic film, the DJ host who dominates the town’s airwaves. Unfortunately, Selma doesn’t holds as much clout as compared to the original Adrienne Barbeau, partly due to the fact that the lead role has been relegated to Elizabeth, a new character added in to increase the intensity and characterization of this film.

However, what’s most prominent about this film is the shift in values and beliefs over time. For example, while the classic original has soft music, this film has hip-hop and hard rock. While the original portrays Stevie Wayne as a work-focused lady who is kind of domesticated (as is appropriate in the conservative 80s), this current version has a coquettish Stevie Wayne putting one foot on the synthesizer and donning funky clothing. While the original has seen some over-eager fishermen looking for a cheap thrill at sea, this film has two luscious ladies in bikini binge drinking and carousing to the beats of hip-hop. The change in technology is also prominent, with the main emphasis on the channels of broadcasting. While the original uses normal airwave broadcasting, this film adopts the use of laptops and webcams. But the most noticeable difference is the attitude of Stevie Wayne’s son towards her. In the original, the boy obeyed Stevie when instructed not to go to the beach. In this film, he defied her, signifying the increasingly rebellious nature and delinquency of today’s youths.

If there’s anything to remember about this film other than its horror element, it’s the changing of the times.

Movie Rating:

(A movie that both terrifies and depicts the changing of the times)

Review by Patrick Tay

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