John Carpenter gets remade -- again. This time it's his 1980 classic The Fog and with its demotion in rating, from R to PG-13, you'll be able to guess what's been changed and removed--before even seeing it.
There's a fog bank on the horizon of Antonio Bay, a small, seaside town in Northern California. No big whoop. Fog rolling in is to the No. Cali inhabitants what a strong snowstorm is to New Englanders--a reason to stay indoors. But in Antonio Bay, mysterious things happen in the fog; those who go in it don't always come out. So, as the small town readies for the 100-year anniversary gala to celebrate its founders, who killed a boatful of lepers to get there, those long-deceased mariners get ready to crash the party. They come in the fog and hunt down their murderers' relatives--and spare no one, except perhaps the two prettiest people on the screen, Nick (Tom Welling) and Elizabeth (Maggie Grace). Or will they be spared?
Acting in The Fog isn't nearly as important as the ability to brood, appear chiseled or scream. Welling does his part as Grace does hers. Welling--known for his Superman role on WB's Smallville--at least has looks like a leading man. Still, until he sheds the teeny bopper hit and takes on meatier roles, he'll be forever relegated to beefcake characters like this. Grace--from ABC's Lost--has the horror chops as well as good looks. Her screams are loud and pervasive, but she, too, is bogged down by a limited script. And Selma Blair is fine as a single mom, but she's simply much better than this.
Director Rupert Wainwright has directed two films prior to The Fog, but let's just say it's a good thing John Carpenter served as producer. He was no doubt an on-set mentor to the British director. It's clear that Carpenter imparted his wisdom, voice and stamp on the film, because some of the scenes are actually jump-worthy. But while there aren't many monstrous flaws in the film, there are a lot of little ones, which are transparently deflected by the chilling soundtrack--even if the scene's mood doesn't call for it. The faults--namely, a tangible lack of clarity--can only fall on Wainwright, because, well, Carpenter already turned this movie into a hit in 1980.
This Fog redo is for the teenagers--glossy, peppered with pretty people and not nearly as terrifying as the original.