Remaking a mediocre film is a better idea than remaking a good one, but Rupert Wainwright's new take on John Carpenter's THE FOG (1980) — done with the director's blessing — is a soggy ghost story wrapped in an aggressively swirling wall of mist. Antonio Island, Ore., is a picturesque coastal hamlet blessed with glorious views and teeming with small-town eccentrics, busybodies and malcontents, many descended from the town's founding fathers Malone, Williams, Wayne and Castle. But as Mayor Tom Malone (Kenneth Welsh) prepares to unveil a statue in the town square celebrating their courage, integrity and foresight, an unnatural fog bank bears down on the town, shorting out electrical lines, sending a chill down people's spines and hiding something very, very angry. A beachcomber picks a 19th-century pocket watch from a tangle of seaweed. Four friends partying aboard the Seagrass, a small fishing-excursion boat owned by fourth-generation islander Nick Castle (Tom Welling), run afoul of something that leaves three of them dead and the fourth thoroughly traumatized. Nick's restless girlfriend, Elizabeth Williams (Maggie Grace), is haunted by dreams of a burning ship and a woman who looks like her drowning in the dark, cold ocean. Local DJ Stevie Wayne (Selma Blair), who runs her one-woman station from the Antonio Bay lighthouse, starts picking up strange sounds on her speakers, and her small son beachcombs an old, barnacle-encrusted silver hairbrush that fairly hums with bad vibrations. Whiskey-priest Father Malone (Adrian Hough) finds an ominous Old Testament verse — "You have been weighed in the balances and found wanting" — scrawled in the local cemetery and warns in vain that something wicked this way comes. But for all the sound and fury, the payoff comes down to some standard-issue CGI ghosts lurking around in the fog, cast back from the sea that swallowed them during the commission of a terrible wrong that Antonio Islanders have purged from their collective memory. If the characters were more interesting, the long, long buildup to their night of ghostly reckoning might be suspenseful rather than tedious. But they're the usual band of genre-movie stereotypes, invested with just enough individuality that if you try, you can remember who's dead and who isn't. Carpenter completists will note that "Nick Castle" is the name of one of the writer-director's long-time collaborators, whose credits include cowriting ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK and playing HALLOWEEN's (1978) masked killer.
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- Released: 2005
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: Remaking a mediocre film is a better idea than remaking a good one, but Rupert Wainwright's new take on John Carpenter's THE FOG (1980) — done with the director's blessing — is a soggy ghost story wrapped in an aggressively swirling wall of mist. Antonio I… (more)