Thursday, October 4, 2018

Movie Review: "The Fog" (1980)

Director: John Carpenter
Year: 1980
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 29 minutes

A mysterious fog containing vengeful ghosts envelopes a coastal California town.

The Fog 1980 John Carpenter horror movie
"You've seen the fog once, you've seen it for life." (Image Source)
We use to think thick fog was something that just made it a pain in the ass to drive, but now, apparently, we have to worry about fog containing murderous ghosts that are coming to get revenge on the ancestors of those who wronged them. Typical California rainy day! "The Fog" is directed by legendary director John Carpenter, who is known for his brilliant films "Halloween," "The Thing," and "They Live." He also wrote the script with Debra Hill, his regular collaborator. The story follows a few characters in a small coastal town in California. It stars the likes of Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, Tom Atkins, and Hal Holbrook. Just after midnight on the 100-year anniversary of Antonio Bay, strange phenomena start to occur. A thick fog that just so happens to contain killer spirits of dead sailors seeking revenge rolls in and covers the town. Now, the townspeople have to find a way to stop them.
The Fog 1980 John Carpenter horror movie
"Ever since you picked me up last night, things have been going wrong." (Image Source)
At its core, "The Fog" is a relatively simple supernatural ghost story with a few slasher elements. John Carpenter does do a solid job constructing a spooky atmosphere and building adequate tension throughout the story. Unfortunately, the characters aren't all that well developed. The personas featured are basically just: some chap, the female hitchhiker he picks up, a radio DJ and her son, a weatherman, a government official and a priest. We'd be hardpressed to remember their names. We don't get tons of background on most of them apart from the priest, but he's barely in the movie. They are just a group of random people who have been thrown together and are trying to survive a night in the mysterious fog surrounding their town. Carpenter makes a deliberate choice to keep the ghosts in the dark, only giving the audience fleeting glimpses of them in the light. This lets the viewer project their own thoughts as to what their faces look like, and it also saves money where the budget is concerned. Since they aren't visible most of the time, it doesn't require complicated or detailed makeup work. What he does show in the light is sufficiently gross and extremely scary looking. Carpenter has always had a knack for that sort of thing even if it's not always displayed front and center.
The Fog 1980 John Carpenter horror movie
"Nothing happens for years, then one night, the whole place falls apart." (Image Source)
"The Fog" may have an uncomplicated premise, but it remains a mostly compelling horror film to this day. We can't really ask for much more than that.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.8/10
RT Rating: 70%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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