The Fog Reviews
Delivers relentless unpretentious thrills from beginning to end.
Ojo, que La Niebla no es ni de lejos una película perfecta, y gran prueba de ello es su guión en el que podemos ver personajes sin sentido y que son totalmente innecesarios para la trama y cuyos arcos son erráticos y sin sentido; y algunos efectos a día de hoy se ven viejos.
Sin embargo cuando son efectos prácticos, realizados con hielo seco y un buen juego de luces, la película cobra una magia especial.
Otro gran clásico de Carpenter.
It perfectly hides it's villains behind shadows making the mystery even more creepy by simply not knowing. Something that's missing in today's horror.
And the opening sequence is one of most chilling and haunting openings to any horror movie. It's basically an old fishermen (played excellently by John Houseman) telling a ghost story, and just that scene alone gave me the chills. It's one of my all time favorite scenes from any horror movie and just a fantastic way to start a film. The piano use in that scenes was so dark and yet so sad.? Amazing.
John Carpenter is a master.
Coming straight after the immense success of Halloween (1978), The Fog has big shoes to fill. While Halloween proved what John Carpenter could do on a budget as low as $320,000, The Fog boasts $1 million. This is still a very low sum, but it presents no challenge to a director like John Carpenter who has consistently proven that he can find horror rooted in far more than the production budget.
In the same way that Halloween bridged an older style of horror into the modern day which helped to establish slasher tropes, The Fog displays the director making use of old-fashioned horror storytelling while integrating in contemporary elements. First of all, the feature is immediately given a sense of elusive mystery by the intro which sets up the narrative as a ghost story. And soon after, the narrative structure unfolds to be in the manner of an old-fashioned disaster film. There are many characters who all have their own independent background but become tied together by the presence of a disaster which in this case is the titular fog. Paranormal occurrences begin to occur on their own, and the search for the mystery begins. The disaster structure of the film makes the narrative rather loose at times and spreads the focus out onto many characters who may not be as interesting as others, and given that the film plods along at a rather slow pace this means that the atmosphere develops at a very gradual rate without always being as eerie as intense as audiences may prefer. Nevertheless, even during the scenes which aren't particularly horror-focused the cast remain actively engaged in the story.
I never would have thought that a film about fog would present much of a scary narrative, but John Carpenter manages to make it work with lovecraftian elements of horror. Fog is a force of nature which cannot be killed, and in the this story it creates ghost mariners as its antagonists who stalk the protagonists of the story and kill them in a manner reminiscent of slasher films. Given that John Carpenter is largely one of the creators of the genre thanks to Halloween, seeing him expand upon the concept and add lovecraftian elements to it in The Fog really shows him taking a big step forward as a filmmaker. The Fog doesn't necessarily reach the height of his brilliance, but it serves as an effective display of progression in his career.
And as well as exploring genre-bending, John Carpenter brings his distinctive stylish talents to The Fog. The on-location scenery provides a perfect backdrop to the story since it depicts a small town on the outskirts of society which seems very much isolated from the rest of the world. The oceanic view and lighthouse provides real beauty for the film, and by contrast when it is all viewed a state of darkness with added special effects and lighting techniques it becomes all the more creepy. There is no seeing into the distance, and when the fog creeps out of there it capitalizes on the unpredictability of the film's lovecraftian themes with an effective use of visuals. The cinematography is also strong since it captures the scenery with plenty of grace while getting closer during the more intense moments. But as is the case with essentially every John Carpenter film, the best aspect of style is the musical score. John Carpenter's personal touch of music is perfectly eerie and helps to keep the slow pace of the film effectively creepy in its development. It's simple, subtle and very distinctive of the director with perfect mood-setting creepiness and paranormal intensity at its heart.
And as well as bringing out fear in his audiences, John Carpenter manages to wring some effectively scared efforts out of his cast.
Adrienne Barbeau is a brilliant lead in The Fog. The majority of her scenes occur within the span of one room, but it's all she needs to really convey a feeling of terror. She portrays Stevie Wayne, a radio host who works in a lighthouse tower. In her position she is able to see over the ocean and the town, communicating with the characters as if she is a narrator. It's almost as if her character is based on Orson Wells' dramatic first-person reading of War of the Worlds (1898), and as the fog itself begins to consume the town more and more she displays more tenacious fear. Adrienne Barbeau progressively grows in emotional intensity and helps to keep the atmosphere of the film rich by conveying genuine human terror at the sight of the horrific occurrences. Adrienne Barbeau steals the screen in The Fog, and she plays the part with an effective balance between strong determination and humane fear that transcends any kind of female stereotype frequent in horror films.
Hal Holbrook also stands out. While the role of most of the actors is to run from the terror of the approaching fog, Hal Holbrook is the one responsible for delving into the mystery of it. His status as a Priest gives him a sense of wisdom, and this supports the fact that his role in the film is composed primarily of reading from the diary of his grandfather which provides a background to the mystery at the heart of the film. He does this with a narration-style tone of voice, and as he develops a discovery of the crimes of his own grandfather, we see a subtle struggle to confront the sins of his family. And when the film draws to a climax, Hal Holbrook engages directly with the horror in a very bold manner. Hal Holbrook delivers a gentle yet convincing performance in a relatively small amount of screen time for The Fog.
Jamie Lee Curtis is very welcome in The Fog since she works extremely well with John Carpenter once again, and the fact that she stars alongside her mother Janet Leigh whose role in Psycho (1960) plays an iconic role in the history of slasher cinema gives real meta value to the film. The two don't share much screen time, but they both deliver effectively scared performances which makes them an entertaining duo of scream queens. Tom Atkins is also a dedicated supporting presence.
The Fog is a rather slow film which doesn't always transcend its limited narrative, but its another atmospherically brilliant and visually stylish horror feature from John Carpenter which serves as an underrated example of his brilliance in creating thrills.
My first viewing was a rental VHS at my grandparents when I was a child. It scared me back then, and still creeps me out today.