The Fog

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

William Blake arranges to purchase half of Antonio Island, off the coast of Oregon, to establish a leper colony for his people. However, island residents Patrick Malone, Norman Castle, Richard Wayne and David Williams double-cross Blake. During a foggy night, they loot his clipper ship the Elizabeth Dane and set it on fire, killing all aboard. 134 years later, the residents of Antonio Island prepare to honor their founding fathers—the same men who burned the Elizabeth Dane—and a statue of them is to be unveiled on the town’s anniversary. During a boating trip, Nick Castle and his friend Spooner unwittingly disturb a bag containing a pocket-watch and a hairbrush from the Elizabeth Dane lying on the seabed.

That night, Nick meets his former girlfriend, Elizabeth Williams, who has returned after six months away. Elizabeth is shown the antique pocket-watch by Machen, an old man who found it washed up on the beach. He warns her ominously “if you touch it, things will change.” The watch begins ticking as Elizabeth holds it. She sees a hallmark on it, which includes a set of scales. Supernatural occurrences then begin to plague the town. Objects move by themselves, power outages occur, and the windows in Nick’s truck inexplicably shatter. Nick and Elizabeth then encounter drunken priest Father Malone, who is ranting about murderers and retribution. Meanwhile, at the local radio station, host Stevie Wayne gets a phone call from weatherman Dan about a large fog bank off the coast. Out at sea on Nick’s boat, Spooner and Nick’s cousin Sean are partying with two young women, Mandi and Jennifer. As the fog reaches them, the boat’s engine stops and the instruments break. An old clipper ship appears in the fog next to them. Seemingly possessed, Jennifer draws a set of scales on a misted window inside the boat. Unseen forces then horrifically kill Mandi, Jennifer and Sean. At Nick’s beach house, Elizabeth has been dreaming about the Elizabeth Dane. She searches the Internet for information about the hallmark symbol she saw earlier, but her computer malfunctions and the word “Dane” appears on the screen. She hears a knock at the front door, goes outside but finds nothing. Walking down to the beach, the fog begins moving in but Nick brings her back inside.

The next day, Nick’s Uncle Hank telephones him about the disappearance of his boat. Nick and Elizabeth sail out and find the vessel and the three corpses. Elizabeth goes into the hold and finds Spooner alive in a freezer. They return to the island where Mayor Tom Malone—Father Malone’s father—suspects Spooner of the murders. In the morgue, Sean’s corpse briefly rises up and accosts Elizabeth. At the library, Elizabeth researches the scales symbol seen on the watch’s hallmark. It represented an old trading colony north of Antonio Island, which was afflicted with leprosy. At the docks, Elizabeth finds the buried journal of Patrick Malone from 1871. She and Nick learn the story of the Elizabeth Dane and realize the founders built the town with the fortune they had stolen from the ship, but kept this secret from their families and the townsfolk.

The ghosts of the Elizabeth Dane seek revenge against Antonio Island’s residents for the past crimes of its founding fathers. After killing Dan at the weather station, they pursue Stevie’s son Andy and his Aunt Connie at home. Connie is killed but Nick and Elizabeth rescue Andy. In her car, Stevie is also attacked but escapes. They all make their way to the Town Hall where the founders’ murderous secrets are exposed. The spirits kill Hank Castle, Kathy Williams and the Malones. The ghost of Blake then seeks Elizabeth. Despite being a descendant of David Williams, Elizabeth is the reincarnation of Blake’s wife and was one of her ancestor’s victims; hence, her mysterious dreams about the Elizabeth Dane. Blake kisses Elizabeth and she transforms into a spirit and disappears as Nick watches helplessly. The next day, the survivors try to cope with their traumatic experiences and the truth about their ancestors. As Stevie reflects on the night’s events with her listeners, Nick throws Patrick Malone’s journal into the sea

REVIEW:

My thoughts on remakes are well known at this point, so I won’t bother to rehash them. However, when it comes to The Fog, I feel that I need to say my piece about remakes. Simply put, if you must remake something, then don’t rehash the story. Give the audience something new with hints of the original. Ugh! Happy Halloween everyone, btw!

What is this about?

Selma Blair, Tom Welling and Maggie Grace star in this creepy thriller about an island town off the coast of Oregon that’s forced to contend with some unwelcome visitors from its past: the spirits of lepers and sailors aboard a ship that the hamlet’s forefathers had steered astray on purpose. Those aboard the doomed vessel all wound up lost in the fog forever. Now, they’re back from the mist, eager to exact revenge on the descendants of their murderers.

What did I like?

Fear of the unknown. Horror movies made in the last 10-15 years just haven’t been scary. Maybe it is a shift in society, maybe it is unoriginal concepts, perhaps it is bad writing, but these things are just a dime a dozen now. Honestly, this film didn’t scare me, either, but there was that sense of terror when the fog randomly killed the people on the boat. Not knowing anything about made it almost scary, which is why the original works so well. Of course, all that goodwill was ruined when they decided to give the fog a life and back story.

Mama Blair. Selma Blair usually plays weird characters, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen her as a mother. Well, you can sort of say she was a mother figure in the Hellboy films, but that’s only because she was the only female. I wouldn’t go that far, though. A couple of thing on Blair. First, I don’t know what it is, but she has never looked better. Maybe it was the scene where she’s in a t-shirt and panties, or maybe it was the hair, but she was almost hot! Second, her character was actually the most likable and relatable, and yet she had very little time on screen. I felt that they developed her a little and then backed off to focus on Tom Welling and Maggie Grace, who I’ll get to shortly.

Twist. Not spoiling anything, but the twist at the end, if you can call it that, leaves the audience scratching their head wondering should they be happy or sad about what just happened. Again, this goes back to not fleshing out the characters. We don’t know what to think about the events that just transpired. That being said, other than a slight foreshadowing near the beginning, we never saw it coming, so that was a plus.

What didn’t I like?

Comic relief. Oregon is not know for being the most racially diverse state. As a result, we get one African-American actor and he’s the comic relief. Truthfully, I could care less about the guy’s race, but if you’re cast to be funny, then for goodness sakes be funny. DeRay Davis failed at his job because I found him to be more of a sidekick than comic relief. His scenes, except when he was partying with the bikini babes, gave me the impression that he has some heroic tendencies bottled up. Maybe there was a version of the script where he saved the day, I don’t know. What I do know is that at least the black man didn’t die first!

More than just pretty faces. More and more today, I see films focusing on casting pretty people rather than competent actors and nine times out of ten, they can’t act! Megan Fox, anyone? Tom Welling and Maggie Grace were obviously cast for their looks, because they are not the best actors and have little to no chemistry. I will say that Welling was a hot commodity because Smallville was in its prime, and that is why he was cast. Maggie Grace is just a beautiful actress. In her defense, though, I have seen her do much better work, so maybe this was a case of needed a better leading man, or she just hadn’t matured as an actress. At any rate, their wooden, unemotional acting takes the audience out and makes you ponder what the point of even caring about these two is.

Graveyard shadows. There is a scene in The Matrix: Reloaded where Keanu Reeves is fighting an army of Agent Smiths. It is some of the worst CG you’ve ever seen, because it is obvious CG. Someone didn’t render it well enough to make it look as real as the actual people and it slipped through the cracks. This may be a product of the limited technology of the time, but everytime I see it and compare it to the highway scene earlier in the film, I wonder. This brings me to this film. In the last scene, we are in a graveyard, surrounded by ghosts. Obviously, the ghosts are CG, but they look like cardboard cutouts used to scare people into thinking there are more than just a couple of them there. I guess the proper term would be shadow, since they are grey and translucent, but still, with the effects that were used with the fires and the fog, surely they could have made the ghosts, which are one of the last things we see in this film, better looking!

From my understanding, The Fog did nothing to improve on the original. Big surprise, right? This is another pointless remake! I don’t really have much to say about it on the positive side, I’m afraid. Maybe when I watch the original, my tune will change, but until then, I do not recommend this film. It just isn’t worth it.

2 out of 5 stars

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