Another remake bites the dust with The Fog, an unnecessary updating of John Carpenter's 1980 chiller. Alas, as co-producer, Carpenter himself must shoulder some of the blame for this pointless exercise, which rehashes his original set-up - a small harbour-town under attack from a revenge-seeking mist - but forgets to include such incidentals as pace, clarity, atmosphere and suspense. Leads Tom Welling and Maggie Grace are beautiful but bland, and you can count the decent scares on the fingers of one mitten. Any way you look at it, it's a case of bad gas.
The annoying thing is Carpenter's version - fine, but not in the same league as his Halloween or Assault On Precinct 13 - actually left room for improvement. Rupert Wainwright (Stigmata) doesn't exploit it. Thanks to his plodding direction, there's no hope of getting immersed in the plot, which kicks in when our murderous pea-souper rolls over Antonio Bay, a town built on a shameful past. While happy to slaughter a couple of bikini bimbos as a matter of course, the fog's real targets are the likes of fisherman Nick (Welling), prodigal daughter Elizabeth (Grace) and lighthouse DJ Stevie (Selma Blair, the only principal with any trace of personality).
"LIKE THE TOP OF THE POPS STUDIO CIRCA 1977"
Why? You won't care. Wainwright fills the screen with dry ice ‘till it looks like the Top Of The Pops studio circa 1977, but the effect just isn't scary. Every now and then some inventive nastiness (an old lady meeting her maker over the washing-up bowl) or a line of delicious dire-logue ("When your pal thaws out, he better have a damn good story!") pierces the gloom. But in the end, the greyness covers everything.