“The Fog” was John Carpenter’s first big budget release following his smash hit, “Halloween.” Many of Carpenter’s staples are on display, a seemingly unstoppable slasher, the past haunting the innocent, and Jamie Lee Curtis. But the larger budget helps to create an even greater atmosphere and lore as the town of Antonio Bay is haunted by the ghosts of hundred-year old shipwreck, seeking vengeance on those who wronged them, using the haunting fog as a means to get what they want. Now the citizens must piece together what is happening to the town and how they can save everyone from a grizzly fate.
Carpenter takes what he started with in “Halloween” and presents it on a much grander scale, with a whole town caught in the middle of a supernatural curse, and multiple characters working in their own ways to fight it. This includes a radio DJ (Adrienne Barbeau) who reports where the fog is headed, a fisherman (Tom Atkins) and his new girlfriend (Lee Curtis) using what they’ve learned from a boating incident to help the town, and the local priest (Hal Holbrook) learning why this happening to the town and realizing their doom. Most of these groups rarely meet up or have little communication with one another, so it does often feel like a whole town of people working together.
Still, the intimacy of “Halloween” is gone and so is most of the fear. The ghosts are more mysterious than terrifying, since we never really get to see most of their carnage. Outside of killing some people who step into the fog, the worst they do is mess with some appliances and windows, something that the gremlins would be doing. This doesn’t diminish “The Fog,” but it does make it more atmospheric and creepy instead of a horror movie, where the mystery of how they’ll solve this is more interesting than what the ghosts are doing.
Final Grade: B-