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Sony Pictures, 2005, Rated PG-13, 1 hr. 40 min.
Nick (Welling) racing from the fog!
Elizabeth (Grace) senses something menacing
Stevie (Blair) is in trouble
Main cast: Grace, Welling, Blair and Heppell
Father Malone (Hough) and Elizabeth (Grace)
Why are small towns always creepy? Especially small towns surrounded by water. The plot of The Fog pretty much mirrors John Carpenter's 1980 movie of the same name, or so I seem to recall. The small Oregon island town of Antonio Bay is about to celebrate its 100 year anniversary - they even have a new statue for the town hall of their four founding fathers: Malone, Williams, Wayne, and Castle. But an eerie fog descends on the town (I should say it descends, retreats, descends, retreats...). The reason the town is being covered by the fog slowly and confusingly unfolds throughout the movie. I'll spare you the "anticipation". One hundred years ago, the four founding fathers of the town needed money to build up the town. They sold the town to a boat-load of lepers looking for a home. When the money was exchanged on the lepers' ship, the founding fathers killed all the lepers and took the money. Then the founding fathers built their town with that money - minus those unsightly lepers. Flash to the present when the fog begins to appear, shrouding the lepers as they use the fog to kill the townspeople in revenge for the forefathers stealing their money, taking their land, and killing them. Probably not in that order...
I found the movie needlessly confusing for a few reasons. There were little things that happened that turned out to be important, but at the time they were shown on screen they seemed so minor that I didn't really pay attention, such as memorizing the last names and the relationships of people to one another. It also was not clear to me whether the leper ghosts were killing all the townspeople or just the relatives of the forefathers (hence it would have been nice to know who was a relative to a forefather and who wasn't). I'm assuming it was just the decedents since the fog didn't descend upon the whole town at one time and it kept coming and then leaving (but then why was the harbor master, who I don't think was a relative of a forefather, killed and why did he start getting leper-type sores on his face?).
It was also not clear who was related to whom among the lepers. Someone I thought was a leper's daughter turns out to be his wife, making for a confusing moment in my mind when they tongue kissed (similar to my confusion when Selma Blair's character is laying in bed in little tiny underwear talking to her 'tween son...). Another confusing moment: the ending. I won't ruin it for you by spelling out what I didn't understand, but I was left baffled when the lepers didn't complete their task.
Back to the characters. By the time they start getting killed, you have not been introduced to them long enough to care about their demise. And those that are killed or chased after some character development I didn't like so I still didn't care! First, Elizabeth Williams (Maggie Grace) is weird. She has just returned to town after a 6-month absence in New York (she "didn't belong" in the small town) because she kept having bad dreams (which turn out to be the story of the lepers). Nick Castle (Tom Welling) is her boyfriend who has been sleeping with the town DJ ("94.5 KAB!"), Stevie Wayne (Selma Blair), in Elizabeth's absence. Nick seems like a dog who will sleep with anything and Stevie seems like a desperate whore who tries to be sexy but isn't. And Nick and Elizabeth are stupid. When Nick's friend and employee (Nick owns Castle & Son Fishing Charters), Spooner (DeRay Davis), takes Nick's boat out with three other people and all are killed but Spooner, the police take him away and want to charge him with murder. Nick and Elizabeth find a video camera on the boat that may show what happened. Nick says that it could prove Spooner's innocence - which it does - and tells Elizabeth to keep it. She promptly loses it in the water. Why did they keep it and not give it to the police?! And, when Elizabeth just happens to find a journal that a forefather had kept that tells the story of how he and the other three forefathers killed the lepers, she does not read it completely to find out what's really going on present day. In the end, Nick throws the historical book into the water...museums be damned! Lastly, when Elizabeth "hears" the fog call to her in the middle of the night, she grabs a sweater and heads outside into the cold ... without pants on! Just little tiny underwear and no shoes (guess they needed a butt shot of her after having one of Blair). When Nick finds her on the beach in front of the house he says something like, "What are you doing out here? It's cold, let's get you inside." Uh, more appropriate to say would have been, "What the hell are you doing out here in the middle of the night without any pants on??!" She made sure to grab a sweater though...
But on a positive note, hats off to Welling's parents who created a superb specimen of a man. As a fan of Smallville, I already know that he's sexy, yet boyish and a good actor who keeps getting better. He's one to watch (in more ways that one...). Definitely the best part of the movie but not given enough to do to save it.
The fog itself was the most interesting character. The camera seemed to be riding on the fog as it crept over the town. It made menacing sounds and before it would enter a room there was a huge booming sound (made by the leper ghosts) that was very effective. It sounded like it was coming from the theater walls. The film also had a lot of jump outs that really did make me jump. In fact, it reminded me of a haunted house in a way, with the fog, the sounds, and the roaming lepers hidden in fog.
I could see all this making a really cool movie in 1980 when John Carpenter really revved up the genre with his screenplay and movie with Hal Holbrook, Adrienne Barbeau, and Jamie Lee Curtis, who went on to start in Carpenter's classic Halloween movies. And done right, the 2005 version could probably have been better than it is. The one thing I learned from this movie is that I will see anything with Tom Welling in it.
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Reviewed by: Hauntmistress, 10/16/2005
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