The Fog (2005)

Watery and insubstantial.

Released in 2005, certified UK-15. Reviewed on 09 Mar 2006 by Scott Morris
The Fog image

From a journeyman scriveners point of view, there's only one positive point to come from the increasingly inspiration deprived Gestalt Hollywood Studio's continual reliance on remaking aged films for no appreciable reason. That reason is, of course, that you can steal the plot recaps from previously written reviews. Allow me to swipe liberally from some classic early era Craig Disko:

Antonio Bay in northern California is a typically quiet, sleepy little coastal town inhabited by fishermen and other blue-collar types that harbours a dark secret from it's past. Upon it's creation a hundred years previously, the founding six members of the community took exception to the arrival of a diseased ship whose crew intended to form their own leper colony close by. Luring them to shore with a fire late at night, the six caused the ship to be dashed on the rocks, drowning the crew, and by the light of day salvaged their gold from among the wreckage. As the town now gears up to celebrate it's centenary year, a dense fog appears off the coast, travelling against the wind and causing all manner of spooky occurrences, not least of all the death of a local trawler's crew.

All of which remains sort of true, barring the fact that there's only four dirty deed doin' founders and they had bargained to flog half the island to the lepers before murdering them. Oh, and it seems to be an island now. I was going to steal more of that review, but he has to go and spoil it all by mentioning that The Fog Classique is a good film, and if there's one thing I need to be quite clear on it's that Los Fog Nouveau is a Bad Film. So Bad it gets Capitalised like this was some Crazy Nineteenth Century Newspaper.

The Fog image

I rather suspect I haven't seen the original film, as it certainly rings few bells in my creaky ol' cranium. Arguably this is a bonus, as I can see this outing for it's own lack of merit rather than as a reflection of the original. That this is as close to a positive thing as I can come to saying about my own personal Fog experience is something of a pity. I don't think I'll even bother listing the principal actors because I'll be a monkey's uncle if I can remember enough about them to distinguish one from another. The cast of pretty young things seems to have been siphoned from teeny T.V. favourites, the only one known to me being Smallville's Superman Jr. Tom Welling. The humping they've been given in most reviews is understandable, but exactly what you'd be expecting from a horror film these days. More on this later.

The problems Los Fog Nouveau face are exactly the same faced by all other horror films, namely how to scare an audience utterly desensitised to violence while lumbered with characters so bland that if you feel any sort of emotion for any of them you can rest assured it was by accident rather than design. The humping this absence of frights been given in most reviews is understandable, but exactly what you'd be expecting from a horror film these days. More on this later.

Now, in fact. This horror film faces all of the same hurdles as every other horror film of the last umpteen years, and fails to navigate them just as consistently as nigh-on-every horror film of the last umpteen years. This will hardly shock anyone who's been paying attention to horror films of the last umpteen years, indeed by this point they'll have merely shaken their heads, emitted a small sigh thinking of what might have been and moved on to looking forward to the next crushing disappointment. In comparison with it's brethren, Los Fog Nouveau really isn't so extraordinarily worse than the others to get worked up about. In fact it's more competent than most, being merely dull as ditchwater rather than laughably appalling or insultingly stupid.

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The real reason Los Fog Nouveau finds itself so comprehensively slaughtered from every corner isn't that this is better or worse than the rest of the field, it's that it's getting reviewed by people who don't realise quite how appalling the field has become. See, once you become respected enough to be able to pick and choose your film reviewing assignments and assign the rest to underlings. It would be a grim weekend if the most tempting prospect was, say Wrong Turn, so there's no sense of the established baseline to compare these flicks to when the grand high pubahs descend from their ivory towers when curiosity is piqued by, say, the reputation of the original film a remake is sourced from. Poor schmoes like us know better.

I mention all of this not to bash any other critics, because when you're this good you can afford to rise above that sort of thing, nor particularly to defend what is undeniably a poor film, but to point out this: with precious few exceptions nigh-on-every horror film of the last umpteen years has been this bad and ought to have received the same treatment. They're not going to get any better if we all just keep accepting the crap we're shoveled up and not complaining too much because, hey, it's a horror film, what can you expect? If every mediocre to pish-poor horror film was given this sort of shoeing, as we've endeavoured to do on this site as part of our Manifesto for Film Truth, maybe we'd start to see some originality, innovation or even basic competence again. Wouldn't that be nice?

Los Fog Nouveau isn't nice. It's a deathly dull, vanilla, charisma-less waste of time and effort. I mean, if a film turns out to be so poor that when writing about it you spend more effort writing about what other people are writing about it rather than writing about it you know there's serious problems afoot. Los Fog Nouveau is an unlikable, ignorable little exercise that I heartily suggest you ignore.

Were I in the business of passing quantifiable judgements, I'd award this 1/5 TippyMarks.

Rupert Wainwright
Cast list:
Tom Welling (Nick Castle)
Maggie Grace (Elizabeth Williams)
Selma Blair (Stevie Wayne)
DeRay Davis (Spooner)
Kenneth Welsh (Tom Malone)
Adrian Hough (Father Malone)