Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Movie Review: The Fog (1980)

The Fog (1980) co-written and directed by John Carpenter

California coastal town Antonio Bay is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Back in 1880, the founders were able to set up thanks to some gold from a ship that wrecked in a heavy fog. The tale is told by a crusty old guy to a bunch of pre-teen boys at a midnight campfire, setting up the story and the ominous atmosphere. The night before the celebration, a lot of weird, paranormal things happen in town, including the disappearance of one of the town's fishing boats. Viewers see the fate of the boat---a vicious attack by mysterious figures in a glowing fog, so we know not everyone is celebrating. The local priest discovers a journal written by his grandfather (who was the priest back in 1880, so maybe they're Anglican?) which reveals the truth about the shipwreck. The owner of the boat was a wealth leper named Blake who wanted to form a leper colony at Antonio Bay. The locals were unhappy about the plan and used a shoreline campfire to fool the boat into crashing on the rocks. They then recovered Blake's gold from the wreckage and founded their own town. Clearly, Blake and his fellow lepers are back for vengeance.

The set up of the movie is very interesting and makes for a good spooky story. The visuals are effective and Carpenter's music score still creates tension even though it sounds rather dated today. Somewhere around half way through the film, random and non-sensical things start to happen to the characters. There are jump scares that don't make sense and a lot of random menacing fog (which looks good but not good enough to carry the film). About three-quarters of the way through I realized the filmmakers were just throwing in scares to be scary regardless of continuity. The film lost all of its emotional and narrative punch and wound up being very disappointing.

Not recommended, even for Carpenter fans.

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