2006Director: Rupert Wainwright
Cast: Selma Blair, Tom Welling, Sarah Botsford
he question we need to ask ourselves at this point is: Can we continue to tolerate bland, overpoweringly average remakes of good movies without losing the ability to stand up straight without crying? I’ll be honest with you, I can’t. Stagger, stagger, howl. In the last few years, we’ve had to withstand The Jackal, Psycho, Planet of the Apes, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Assault in Precinct-13, The Manchurian Candidate, and House of Wax. Why, movie-father, have you forsaken us?
The Fog is okay. It happens. It plays. The story unravels and characters meet one another and run from the fog and get slashed up good and proper. Problem is, in these remakes, there’s no narrative tension. We know precisely what’s going to happen. Soderbergh made a good choice when he decided to remake Solaris, a film that succeeds on arctic tones and psychological strain. But these guys just don’t get it. They choose to remake movies that rely on narrative shocks and twists. There’s rarely enough of an aesthetic pleasure to these films to allow them all to unfold harmlessly. Zack Syder’s Dawn of the Dead is a rare exception; that was a film that tweaked the original in a new direction, without deviating from what made it so fun.
These underblown efforts lack ambition. People go to watch remakes with a sour-puss. Maybe we should be more open-minded or not go to see them at all (is that an option? I can’t tell anymore), but the dread with which they are greeted is a natural defense system that has slyly evolved to combat painful aggressions like The Fog. About 70% of the body's immune system is located in the digestive tract, which is just as well, as the film’s sordid bile threatened to tear the lining of my cinema-stomach to shreds.
Much like the dull Precinct-13 re-tread, this film has no edge, no force of its own. The deviations from the original are ill-thought out and often without logic. Selma Blair is an attractive and fairly good actress, but she’s no Adrienne Barbeau and I find it hard to imagine a small town tolerating her poor music selection. Carpenter’s film was without pretension, a self-confessed fireside yarn with just enough leftover-from-the-seventies charm to be a success. Is it unrealistic to demand that if a production company is intent on remaking a movie, they should make it better than the original? If they can’t manage to do that, then the work has no worth. The remake lacks any sort of contemporary relevance and in no way seems rooted to any other point in history. The world depicted isn’t one of fantasy or reality. It just kind of floats aimlessly in a Hollywood void, without any objective and only other bad remakes for company.
Although I find it hard to overly berate the man who brought to us the “U Can’t Touch This” video, director Rupert Wainwright has produced a remarkably lacklustre movie . If only he’d borrowed a little of MC Hammer’s get-up-and-go instead of making me fight that very impulse for 103 minutes (10 minutes longer that the original). The most frightening thing about The Fog is that they made it. The idea of submitting this film confidently to the world and the unforgiving guardians of history sends chills down my spine.