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The Fog (2005)
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this horror movie includes several jump scenes, lots of spooky darkness, and ghosts. None of these are especially effective, but as they are accompanied by a pushy soundtrack, they might make some viewers start. Characters drink, smoke, and make lewd comments; girls in bikinis dance provocatively for a young man with a video camera; and a pretty girl in her underwear is troubled by ghosts in a dark house. A young couple showers together (close-ups of golden wet body surfaces, not particularly explicit) and then has sex, in similar soft golden light and facial close-ups. Victims in flashback scenes are lepers, and their faces are disfigured; their ghost versions are skeletal and ghastly. Violence is mostly penetrative, by glass shards and knives (one character is stabbed in his eyes). Characters are also drowned or nearly drowned; a car tumbles off a cliff into the sea; the fog seeps and creeps; buildings, ships, and bodies burn; and one of the ghosts keeps pounding thunderously on doors.
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What's the story?
Nick (Tom Welling) lives on Antonio Island off the Oregon coast, where self-important local mucky-mucks -- including the mayor (Kenneth Welsh), Mrs. Williams (Sara Botsford), and the miserable, perpetually drunk Father Malone (Adrian Hough) -- are inaugurating a memorial to the town founders. The founders, it turns out, brutally murdered a company of lepers, whose ghosts have been unleashed and are out to kill the founders' descendants.
Is it any good?
Rupert Wainwright's dull remake of John Carpenter's spare 1980 version maintains a steady, slow pace, never building to a climax that matters. "We gotta go!" Poor Nick (Tom Welling) says this a few too many times in THE FOG, and every time he does, you're likely to be thinking the same thing. Though the flesh and blood characters' primary opponents are vengeful 19th-century ghosts, they're more egregiously inconvenienced by the clunky script, which explains too much plot and leaves out too much characterization.
No surprise, the film closes with a big confrontation between townies and ghosts, framed by the somewhat antic commentary by the one outsider, Nick's first mate and best friend Spooner (DeRay Davis), the only black character in sight. Though Spooner initially works overtime to "fit in" with the white folk, whooping and drinking and training his video camera on bikinied girls during a nighttime cruise with Nick's dead-meat cousin, he's eventually quite eager to dissociate himself. When the townies are informed, "The sins of the fathers are visited upon the heads of the children," Spooner rightly shouts, "Keep my father out of this. I'm from Chicago!"
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