UMD Review: The Fog

There's an extra benefit to remakes in the current movie market. That's DVD, and rest assured when a remake is hitting theaters, the original will be brought out of retirement for the home market (in a super deluxe edition if it was previously available). Why else would anyone remake The Fog, a minor horror film with a small following only thanks to an original premise?

This updated version does what most updates do. They add in popular music for the era, copy spots of the script, add in some new special effects, and generally disgrace any memories of the original. The concept the same, as a small town's founders burn up a ship of lepers to steal the gold to build the town. This key plot point is buried somewhere in the dialogue that rarely strays far from people screaming.

Aside from some creepy uses of (what else) the fog, only one impressive sequence exists in this remake. That's the flashback to the leper incident 100 years ago, featuring impressive pyrotechnic stunt work and a sharp eye to milk the drama. Everything in the present day is dull, lifeless, and generic, a sad statement for a horror film that tried to stand out back in 1980.

Maggie Grace and Tom Welling lead a small cast against the growing crisis as the fog makes its way on shore. Scenes are typical for a horror film, mainly lots of driving and running away from the problem. One or two death sequences provide minor gore, and this unrated cut adds three minutes somewhere along the way.

When The Fog does gain momentum, it's far too late. The short running time cuts any of that short and the disappointing, completely ridiculous ending doesn't even try to draw the viewers attention away from how bored they are. It had a few chances, but it doesn't capitalize on any of them. (* out of *****)

This UMD features great detail in its video, certainly above par compared to most movies on the format. Its toughest opponent is compression, which causes major problems in the backgrounds. The movies slightly washed out look doesn't help matters. It's a completely uninteresting and average (aside from the detail) 2.35:1 transfer. (***)

Bass can go wrong in a lot of ways, but The Fog nails it. It's used properly and in varying levels in an attempt to draw some horror from the situation. It's controlled flawlessly without being forced out. A few minor instances of directional audio are minor, and there were numerous other times for its use. Still, the superb use of the bass is enough to make this worth listening to. (****)

Apparently, being unrated was enough for Sony Pictures to justify not adding any extras. A few trailers are the only thing you'll find when you play around with the menu. (No stars)

As if the remake assault from Hollywood wasn't enough, we're now getting a string of unrated movies. This is the type of irritating marketing that turn people away, and this is a perfect example. The original PG-13 rating makes the unrated portion of the disc sound appealing, yet with only three extra minutes and that are barely discernable from the PG-13 cut, any hopes of getting some extra gore or horror are lost.

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