Friday, 14 March 2014

The Fog (2005)

A remake that nobody really wanted turns out to be a film that few people will love. The Fog has one purpose in life, and that's to make horror fans, like myself, roll our eyes when we talk about the 1980 version of The Fog and have to add "the John Carpenter one". Of course, the same could be said about The Thing and Halloween, but it's this one that rankles the most, perhaps due to the way that an atmospheric, campfire tale of a movie is turned into a horrible, clumsy, teen horror.

Tom Welling stars as Nick Castle (that reference/in-joke is about as good as it gets, folks). Nick is making a living in the small community of Antonio Island. The community is about to unveil a statue honouring its founding fathers, but it seems that they may not have been too honourable in the dealings that led to a major boost in local fortunes. As people gather to celebrate, a fog starts to roll in, and that fog seems to contain some spirits who want revenge for wrongs exacted upon them.

Cooper Layne may not have written the best script here (adapting ideas from the original material by John Carpenter and Debra Hill), but director Rupert Wainwright certainly doesn't help with any of the choices that he makes. None of the horrible CGI or jump scares are a patch on anything from the original movie. It may be unfair to compare the two, but when so many similiar elements are onscreen, and the recent version is overshadowed by a film that was made twenty five years previously, I think there's good reason to comment.

Welling tries, but he's no leading man. Maggie Grace is just . . . . . there as Elizabeth, the sorta girlfriend of Welling's character, and it's only Selma Blair who really makes this worth a watch. Taking on a role so memorably played by the gorgeous Adrienne Barbeau is no mean feat, but Blair doesn't do too badly at all, despite the script leaving her hanging out to dry in the third act. DeRay Davis, Kenneth Welsh, Adrian Hough and some other folk all play second fiddle to the the not-so-special effects.

Taking a movie and remaking it badly isn't really a major sin, despite what we fans will sometimes say. Taking a film that really crafted a perfect campfire tale, however, and then pissing on that fire and trying to serve up the wet ashes to people? Well, that's not really a major sin either, but it should be. Oh yes, it should.


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