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THE FOG (2005)
(Unrated Widescreen Edition)

While it certainly is not the minor horror classic that the John Carpenter original has become, the 2005 version of THE FOG ($29) is a serviceable enough chiller for an evening of popcorn munching. Utilizing the basics of the 1980 John Carpenter/Debra Hill screenplay, the new film wanders off in a new direction by trying to romanticize the ghost story that is central to the plot. Unfortunately, this romantic vision works against the more horrific aspects of the story, since humanizing the spectral boogeymen inhabiting the fog pretty much defangs them. Another thing that probably worked against this version of THE FOG is the studioís decision to release it theatrically in a PG-13 cut; which is about as toothless as horror movies come these days. Even the unrated cut of the film released of the DVD seems a bit lacking in bite.

The plot of 2005 version of THE FOG moves the action from Antonio Bay, California to the more remote Antonio Island, Oregon- thus preventing anyone in this movie from escaping The Fog by land. However, this version maintains the notion that the community is honoring its founding, although the dark secrets that lay in a watery grave off Antonio Island are brought to light much sooner this time around. Of course, the sinking of the Elizabeth Dane and the loss of all hands, more than a century before, remains integral to the story, with that ghostly crew swooping in out of The Fog to dole out retribution against the decedents of those responsible for their deaths all those years ago. The cast of THE FOG features Tom Welling, Maggie Grace, Selma Blair, DeRay Davis, Kenneth Welsh, Adrian Hough, Sara Botsford, Cole Heppell, Mary Black, Jonathon Young and R. Nelson Brown.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made THE FOG available on DVD in a 2.35:1 widescreen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. Not surprisingly, THE FOG looks really terrific on DVD. Other than an occasional shot, the picture boasts great levels of sharpness and detail. Colors are nicely saturated, completely stable and produce highly appealing flesh tones. Blacks are pitch perfect, whites are crisp, plus the image produces very strong contrast and shadow detail. The film elements from which the DVD had been transferred are virtually pristine, plus there is little appreciable grain. Digital compression artifacts are very well concealed.

THE FOG comes with an effective Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. As expected, the sound designers never miss an opportunity to layer creepy noises over the track or add plenty of atmospheric effects to ratchet up the suspense level. Additionally, all of the discrete channels are well deployed, especially during the more action intensive moments. Fidelity is excellent in rendering both the sound effects and the musical content on the track. The bass channel is potent and adds all the necessary weight to the effects. Voices have a warm, natural quality, plus the filmís dialogue is always completely understandable. A French language track has also been encoded onto the DVD, as have English and French subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few nice extras. Director Rupert Wainwright is on hand to provide a running audio commentary, plus three featurettes are also provided. Whiteout Conditions: Remaking A Horror Classic runs eight minutes, features interviews with the production team and looks at the changes to the story this time around. Seeing Through The Fog is a kind of fluffy ten minutes of interviews with cast & crew. At fourteen plus minutes Feeling The Effects Of The Fog is the most substantial program and focuses in the filmís solid special effects work.

2005ís update of THE FOG isnít great cinema, or great horror for that matter, but is still a serviceable entertainment for an evening of popcorn munching. Sonyís DVD looks and sounds great, so your home theater system will also get a bit of enjoyment out of the disc.



The Fog (Widescreen Unrated Edition) (2005)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2006 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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