Add one more to the list of unnecessary horror remakes with this fog-bound resurrection of "The Fog." While the original was no masterpiece, it displayed an inventive B-movie sensibility and director John Carpenter's trademark visual style. While this version strives unsuccessfully for deeper meanings in its retelling of the terrorization of a small coastal town by a killer fog, it lacks the scares necessary to satisfy its target audience. Opened Friday without being screened for critics, it looks to burn off quickly on its way to video stores.
With Carpenter and the late Debra Hill among those listed as producers, the film is fairly faithful to the original. Once again, a small town is victimized by a particularly nasty, soupy fog, which turns out to be populated by the ghosts of the victims of a clipper ship that sunk as the result of a dastardly deed more than 100 years earlier. Now seeking revenge on the descendants of their murderers, the fog spreads its malevolence among the residents. These include hunky fisherman Nick (Tom Welling); his ex-girlfriend Elizabeth (Maggie Grace), who has just hitchhiked back into town; and sassy DJ/lighthouse keeper Stevie (Selma Blair).
Cooper Layne's screenplay attempts to weave in various themes of environmentalism, etc., with a subplot involving the local mayor (Kenneth Welsh) and town historian's controversial plan to erect a statue honoring its founders, using funds that Nick would rather see devoted to repairing the dock and sea wall.
But the film mainly is concerned with the ominous effects of the fog, which produces a variety of nasty results, including mysterious fires, the dead coming back to life and a near drowning by killer seaweed. One of the characters also has a particularly fateful encounter with a sink garbage disposal.
The film's level of predictability was best gauged by the audience's hooting reaction to the town weatherman's declaration that "Big Dan's got everything under control," naturally followed by his quick incineration.
Director Rupert Wainwright fails to bring any style to the material, not producing a fraction of the suspense or wit generated by Carpenter in the original even while working with a far lesser budget..