No matter how loud you crank the speakers, no matter how many times you show breaking glass, the end product of whatever you're trying to display cannot be scarier than very loud breaking glass.
Rupert Wainwright's remake of John Carpenter's "The Fog" is about as good as this year's remake of Boogeyman, if not quite as loud or obnoxious or offensive. Instead of slamming doors we get breaking glass, lots of breaking glass and lots of extras getting thrown through breaking glass.
Alas, 2005 looks to go down as another year of horror remakes by unskilled filmmakers who try to mask the ineptitudes of their screenplays with dull CGI renditions and repetitive sound effects so loud you wish theater surround sound had never been invented. Add to the mix your standard fake scares and false alarms, and before you know it you've got a studio produced pseudo-thriller ready for mass distribution.
The film supposedly takes place on the quiet island of Antonio Bay off the coast Oregon, but those of us who see enough movies are rather familiar with the true locations, without even having to pick up on the Canadian accents of the many extras in the film. Nevertheless, the proud citizens of "Antonio Bay" are preparing to unveil a statue monument of the island's founding fathers outside town hall on the next dark and foggy night.
While FCC-defying radio disk jockey Stevie Wayne (Selma Blair) supplies the town with groovy tunes, Dan the Weatherman (Jonathon Young) keeps a watchful eye on the weather radar and notices a disturbance on the horizon.
Sure enough a mysterious fog bank rolls through but Stevie isn't convinced when Dan the Weatherman corresponds and skeptically asks, "What kind of fog bank goes against the wind?"
A pretty nasty one we can say, as a group of unfortunate teenagers finds out firsthand while partying on a fishing boat when it runs into the fog, and when the absurdity begins - starting with two Canadian-sounding teenagers getting thrown through what was otherwise perfectly good glass.
Depending on the importance of the characters, the fog either kills when it makes first contact with the skin, or becomes a Casper-like substance that can be fought off in order to escape to the next scene. Sometimes the fog toys with its victims, and waits for the opportune time to throw a waiting Canadian through a window or some other material made of glass.
The main character Nick Castle is played by Tom Welling, whose claim to fame is donning Superman's cape on the WB melodrama "Smallville," and is unimpressive in his second major film - yet another remake that follows 2003's "Cheaper by the Dozen." Either Welling can't genuinely act or this movie wasn't worth his effort, but I'm willing to go with the former because, you see, I've caught an episode of "Smallville" once, hoping to see something that remotely resembles "Superman," but was unsurprisingly disappointed.
Welling's character and the town's survivors must find a way to stop the fog, or what's in the fog for that matter, and understand the fog's motive for seeking revenge on the decedents of the founding fathers.
The climax takes place outside town hall, where a graveyard is conveniently juxtaposed to allow for the wakening of more ghosts, demons, and other grudge-wielding spirits that will provide one more opportunity to show someone getting thrown through glass.
The resolution is so weak and thoughtless it has been done leagues better on numerous episodes of Nickelodeon's "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" Ah, so there is a reason this movie wasn't screened in advance for critics!
Like Boogeyman before it, "The Fog" desperately tries to fill in the story gaps with unnecessarily dull, loud and repetitive sound effects on par with someone banging an aluminum trash can with drumsticks. The fog itself, when not banging on trash cans, growls forever on end like a dog too lazy to bark, but louder and more often. These sounds are even utilized during the fake scares that usually reserved for high pitched violin chords to anger unmoved audiences. Yes, even Welling's character at one point finds a trash can to pound on.
Naturally we can expect a glossy DVD promotion in the near future when the studio will most likely release an "unrated" edition to attract the moviegoers who were smart enough to stay away from the theatrical PG-13 (yet another) suck fest.
Believe it or not there once was a good movie called "The Fog" by a man named John Carpenter that used good ol' fashioned atmosphere for chills, because sometimes you want to opt for realism over special effects. Sometimes there are better ways to creep out moviegoers than with digitalized renditions of specters.
With sleek production values cum the legendary score by the writer/director himself, "The Fog" of 1980 reminds me of a happier time for the genre, and doesn't deserve to be maligned and slandered by its unholy remake.