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The Fog

by Archives October 19, 2005

Grade: B-

Over one hundred years ago, founders of the seaside town of Antonio Bay purposefully misled a ship of lepers, sending them to a watery grave. As celebrations surrounding the town’s anniversary draw near, the long-dead mariners return to the shores, shrouded in a thick, eerie fog. They have only one thing in mind: Exert vengeance on the descendants of the men who lead them to death.

Back in 1980, fresh from the promising start of his Halloween franchise, John Carpenter, along with Debra Hill, released The Fog, a small independent movie that somehow caught more attention than expected.Last weekend, John Carpenter’s classic got a face-lift, benefiting from the technological advancements that allow for better special effects.

Back in 1980, Jamie Lee Curtis, the then-queen of horror fought the supernatural forces of nature. Twenty-five years later, she has passed the torch to Maggie Grace and Tom Welling as leads.

Although both actors have very little experience on the big screen, their faces will be familiar to TV watchers. For the last four years, Tom Welling has been the face of Superman in the hit Smallville series. For two hours, he ditches his blue tights for some marine gear as Nick Castle, a local fisherman. It comes as no surprise to see how at ease Welling is in action sequences. He sometimes seems shaky at delivering his lines, but this is a horror movie, not an attempt to claim an Oscar nomination.

Lost’s Shannon, Maggie Grace, stars opposite Welling as Elizabeth Williams, his girlfriend coming back to town after a six month exile. They both share the chemistry you would expect from two good-looking twenty-year-olds in a movie whose plot calls for frolicking in the shower and running away from zombies.

Selma Blair completes the cast as Stevie Wayne, single-mother and radio host somewhat narrating the progression of the fog. She delivers a performance that is quite surprising, providing the viewer with touching moments, making a break to shift from action to emotion, an aspect that is most often pushed aside in this type of movie.

Unlike many recent horror movies, The Fog relies on eerie atmospheres rather than graphic violence to create tension. It remains faithful to the original in slowly building on a feeling of fear. You will most likely not find yourself chewing off the handle of your seat, but do expect the occasional chill to run down your spine.

The movie also stays true to the 1980s horror movies formula: A bit of blood, a flash of flesh, and a few laughs.

But, however faithful to the riginal it might be, this newly inspired version has made the mistake of adding its twist at the end, turning an ending that was simple, yet satisfying, into one that leaves the viewer puzzled. It might not make it to Hollywood’s hall of fame, but will most certainly put you in the spirit for this year’s Halloween.

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