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Unnecessary? Yes, but this horror remake is still fun

October 17, 2005|Christy Lemire | Associated Press

Studios routinely skip advance screenings of movies deemed risky or pointless to show critics, but "The Fog" needn't have been one of them.

Yes, the fog itself looks pretty cheesy, as do the zombie-like mariners who inhabit it in their century-old quest for revenge.

And the script from Cooper Layne contains your typical horror-flick lines that overstate the obvious, like: "That guy gives me the creeps," and, "Nick, ever since I came home, horrible things have been happening." These are necessary evils of the genre. You need to laugh before you get scared again.

But director Rupert Wainwright -- whose previous movies include "Stigmata," starring Patricia Arquette -- manages to create some genuine intensity and suspense. He does the basic horror-movie stuff right -- with lighting and shadows, with things that go bump in the night. And he's got some actors people have heard of: Tom Welling ("Smallville"), Selma Blair ("Cruel Intentions") and Maggie Grace (from "Lost").

Like most remakes, "The Fog" is pretty unnecessary. John Carpenter's original from 1980 is considered a solid effort from the horror veteran, though perhaps not a genre classic like his "Halloween." It featured the first on-screen pairing of Jamie Lee Curtis and her mother, Janet Leigh.

This new "Fog" stays pretty true to its roots. A hundred years after the founding of a small coastal town, a thick fog rolls in night after night, knocking out electricity, destroying boats, causing car accidents and -- oh, yeah -- sucking people through glass windows like cat fur through a vacuum cleaner.

Things get pretty bombastic toward the end -- people and objects spontaneously combust, shattered glass noisily flies everywhere -- as the town's dark history is revealed. Apparently, stealing land from lepers wasn't such a good idea.

But it's still a good, old-fashioned ghost story, and you really can't go wrong with that, no matter how hard you try.


`The Fog'

MPAA rating: Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and brief sexuality.

Times guidelines: Too intense for younger children.

A Columbia Pictures release of a Revolution Studios production. Director Rupert Wainwright. Screenplay Cooper Layne; 1980 screenplay, John Carpenter, Debra Hill. Producer David Foster. Director of photography Nathan Hope, Ian Seabrook (underwater). Editor Dennis Virkler. Production designers Michael Diner, Graeme Murray. Music Graeme Revell. Running time: 1 hour, 43 minutes.

In general release.

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