The original. Enough said.
I’m kidding … I won’t end the post here, but I could. I could spare you some remake bashing, but that’s not our purpose. We try to be fair in our reviews, so I’m only going to stick to some major points. After seeing the remake, I can understand why fans were so upset. If you liked the remake, I’d love to hear why, so feel free to contact us or post a comment. We’re always open to other opinions!
A brief intro to both movies:
The Fog (1980) was directed by John Carpenter, and starred and featured classic actors and actresses you know from Halloween and Spielberg’s Jaws. The film exemplifies classic ’70s- to ’80s-style good horror, as it is was creepy, well shot and most acting was well done. It takes place in a small island town with a dark history and sea urban legend.
The Fog (2005) was directed by Rupert Wainwright, who you may know from his movie Stigmata, and John Carpenter helped write this screenplay. Shame on him. It sort of stays true to the story and does take place in the same setting. The performances depend on the actor, and there are some major issues compared to the original. It would take a day to discuss everything they changed, so I’m going to spotlight my five biggest issues with the remake and why it doesn’t work.
The Fog: The Top Five Differences That Break The Remake
The Fog – Even though both carry the title, there is one major difference between the two. In the remake, the actual fog is an afterthought, and you have no reason to fear it. The Fog (1980) focuses on the fog and what happens to the characters when it appears. The remake does not. Instead, it focuses on the characters – who we don’t care about – and the fog might as well be a spring shower. The Fog (2005) lacks suspense, spookiness, and you ask yourself why they even bothered keeping it.
Radio Personality – A sex icon in the ’80s, Adrienne Barbeau did a stellar job as a sultry radio personality in the original. If I lived in this small town, I’d listen to her. Great look, great voice, great personality. As many radio personalities, she can turn it on and off as well. For the most part, she stays in the lighthouse watching over the island when the fog comes in. She is the reason many people survive.
In the remake, Selma Blair plays this part. Her character is the only redeeming aspect of this movie. She’s no Adrienne Barbeau, but she tries, and we easily see that. She’s a hot rocker chick, which I appreciate given the time period, and she really tries to embrace the character. Many of the scenes and lines are the same, and she is the light in this movie. Blair does the best with what she has.
Cinematography – Dean Cundey was the director of photography for The Fog 1980. If you don’t recognize the name, you know his other works including Jurassic Park, the Back to the Futures, the original Halloween II, The Thing (1982), and dozens of others. The shots in the original are amazing. The movie is shot so well, it’s a piece of art in itself. The remake throws all that out the window. Nathan Hope has this role in the remake, and I will just say he is no Cundey.
The Priest – This may have been the most confusing aspect for me, other than the ending. In Fog 1980, the priest serves a priest role. He provides the legend, explains what’s happening and why, and helps save the town in the end. He does drink, but that shouldn’t be a big deal, right? Wrong.
Fog 2005 blows this completely out of proportion. I asked myself is that supposed to be the priest? I thought it was a homeless guy dressed as one. That’s what the original did to this character. They took a regular person with a vice – because we all have one – and turned him into a blubbering mess of a man. He serves no purpose, and if he was supposed to, you wouldn’t know it because they butchered the character so badly. He’s an unreliable character who is supposed to help, but as an audience, we blow him off. I have to ask why? Why did they do this? It doesn’t make sense or serve the movie in any way.
The Ending – Where to begin … Spoiler alerts: They changed A LOT in the remake, including the ending. I seldom rip apart something, and this is one of those moments. In the original, there is a climax. The fog once again moves in, and all hell breaks loose. You see main characters wherever they are on the island, and there is unity as well as disconnect. Everything ends up okay because the priest accepts his fate to defeat the fog and what lies within it. Most main characters survive, and the potential for the fog to come back to another town with a similar history leaves you uneasy. Well done.
The remake does none of this. During this climatic scene, all characters end up in the same place. Never mind that Blair is supposed to watch out for the town in the lighthouse; let’s have her there too. Then, kill the priest with CGI glass from broken displays. Then for extra fun, let’s have a ghost pirate in love with a main character, have her kiss his decayed face, turn into a ghost, and walk away in the graveyard moonlight. I cannot express enough disdain for that ending, and shame on everyone who had anything to do with it.
The verdict: The original. Unless you want to yell at the TV for poor movie-making decisions.