Fog, The

Walking out of the theater after seeing The Fog, a remake of the 1980 John Carpenter film I have yet to see, many questions arose. Why do I pay to see this kind of film? Who considered Tom Welling to be an actor worthy of first billing? How can we stop producers from constantly green lighting these remakes in the first place? Above all, however, was this curiosity: If the word “fog” was used as an acronym, what would it stand for? Four Oscars Guaranteed? Certainly not. Fallacy Over Greenbacks? Possibly, but let us think harder. Foolish Outcome Generated? Yeah, sounds about right.

The setting of today’s film is one of the dullest islands in America, where the only entertainment comes from Stevie Wayne’s independent radio station. You’ll remember Stevie Wayne and her radio station, too, because she gets more screen time in the first twenty minutes than most sane directors would allow. Again and again she pops up, jabbering away about her radio station and playing record after record so the soundtrack can get bigger, stronger, and more obnoxious. Do you like skateboard punk rock? Too bad, because you’ll be hearing a lot of it during this movie.

Stevie used to run around with Nick Castle (a movie name if there ever was one), who is played by Smallville’s Tom Welling. I’ll say again how Welling simply cannot handle the responsibility of headlining a film, horror or otherwise. The man is the acting equivalent of water. No calories, no fat, nothing of substance whatsoever. Granted, he looks darn good sans shirt, but I wouldn’t call that a thespian skill.

Anyway, Nick is a fisherman who at the beginning of the film is getting ready to call it a day. His crew is made up of two middle aged doofs and one, say it with me now, Token Black Guy. It pains me to see this keep happening, and you’d be right in thinking I feel redundant in pointing out the cliché by now, but The Fog does nothing to quell my cynicism. The character’s name is Spooner, he’s the wacky comic relief, and all of his spooked moments made me think of Shaggy from Scooby-Doo (G-g-g-g-ghost!). Not really doing much for the advancement of blacks in film, I know.

As Spooner is bringing up the anchor so they can head back home it gets caught on a bunch of very “curse-ed” items. This scene is played like it’s the most terrifying spectacle you’ll ever see, though unless you’re truly rattled by a hitched anchor you’d probably benefit from a lighter film. These items, including a watch and nasty old brush, wash ashore and start messing with the islanders. And of course there’s the titular fog, which slowly but surely kills everyone deemed not important to the story.

Speaking of this story, and speaking of being not important, well, they’re one in the same. This movie could make any pair of eyeballs glaze over, despite its utterly lame attempt to inject a mystery into the proceedings. Yes, a mystery ladies and gentlemen, complete with clues, red herrings, interviews, and the like. Too bad I couldn’t muster up the energy to care, and when the full details behind the origin of the fog were revealed it didn’t even make me blink (I think it had something to do with leprosy and…I dunno, pixies).

The Fog is also not at all scary, depending solely upon cheap computer effects, a booming soundtrack, and an abundant supply of cheap shocks to manipulate its viewers. Why in this day and age do we still have the old switcheroo wherein we’re supposed to think someone is about to be attacked only to have the “evil force” behind them turn out to be a loved one? Who thinks wet footprints, malfunctioning laptops, hair brushes that burst into flame, It’s Only a Dream sequences, and dogs barking register as being even the slightest bit frightful? The movie’s rated PG-13 for the love of God, so it’s not like we’re even going to see some decent gore. Heck, the one sex scene in the picture is almost always obscured by a shower door. Where’s the grit nowadays?

So what did I mean by Foolish Outcome Generated anyhow? Well, I’ve decided it would be best not to go into spoilers here, but let’s just say The Fog has one of the least satisfying conclusions I’ve seen in quite some time. Things are moving along, people are getting the axe left and right, and then boom, the credits are rolling. I had no idea why the plot resolved itself the way it did, and this utter confusion made me resent the movie all the more. It’s as if the writer really had no idea how to finish the script and just threw in a pathetic Deus ex Machina in order to get his paycheck.

Okay, so it’s Halloween, and yeah, you may feel like checking out a supposedly scary film to celebrate the festivities, but there are dozens of titles awaiting you at your local video store that will provide more chills than The Fog. Heck, rent the original, which again, I have not seen, but surely cannot be any worse than what I saw last night. You deserve to keep some money in your pocket, right? Right.

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