Despite some plot flaws, The Fog achieves the right balance of scaremongering without drifting too far into slasher movie. Tom Welling plays the hero we have come to expect from Smallville. Maggie Grace, best known for her role as Shannon from Lost, brings us another bad girl who is not as bad as originally portrayed. Selma Blair pulls out the sophisticated yet innocent other woman with aplomb. DeRay Davis, playing the sidekick, never lets you forget that he’s a standup comic, despite suffering the most at the hands of the demons (well, as long as you don’t count the minor characters who end up dead).
The movie begins in 1871, with a clipper ship afire and 4 escaping men. The horror of the burning bodies was shown in a wide shot. Those of us who needed to could pretend it was just pieces of the ship falling off. The real horror is apparently the wish and ability of the dying souls to wreak revenge.
The movie jumps forward to the present day and sets up the characters. Welling as the hero, Nick Castle, has a struggling charter boat business that he runs with his buddy, Spooner (Davis). He also has a girlfriend (Grace) who is 3000 miles away and we learn that he’s enjoyed the attentions of the local lighthouse DJ (Blair) in the girlfriend’s absence.
A rare voyage out with paying passengers is disrupted when the anchor gets caught in the wreckage of the clipper ship on the bottom. Disrupting the watery grave sets things in motion. The girlfriend, Elizabeth, returns without warning haunted by nightmares of the burning clipper ship.
A few hours later, the Fog rolls in against the wind, bringing magnetic effects a la the Bermuda Triangle, and the first of gruesome ghostly attacks. There’s some gore but most of the fear is delivered in the form of eerie music, sudden jumps out of the dark, and the Fog forming into the shape of decomposed bodies.
There were some plot flaws for those of us who pay attention to such things. Much is made of the family lineage of the characters but, in the end, the fates of the characters do not fall along family lines. The attaction and aborted romance between Nick and Blair’s Stevie Wayne seemed a promise unfulfilled. I strongly suspect that some scenes between the two remain on the cutting room floor. In my opinion, that was the biggest disappointment of the film because Blair does a remarkable job playing the sultry yet sensitive DJ.