The Fog

1980

The Fog

Critics Consensus

A well-crafted return to horror for genre giant John Carpenter, The Fog rolls in and wraps viewers in suitably slow-building chills.

75%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 52

64%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 49,380
User image

The Fog Photos

Movie Info

A weather-beaten old fisherman tells an ancient tale of betrayal and death to fascinated children as they huddle together by their campfire. As a piece of driftwood in a child's hand glows with spectral light an eerie fog envelops the bay, and from it's midst emerge dripping demonic victims of a century old shipwreck...seeking revenge against a small California coastal town.

Watch it now

Cast

Adrienne Barbeau
as Stevie Wayne
Hal Holbrook
as Father Malone
Janet Leigh
as Kathy Williams
Jamie Lee Curtis
as Elizabeth Solley
Tom Atkins
as Nick Castle
Nancy Kyes
as Sandy Fadel
Charles Cyphers
as Dan O'Bannon
Ty Mitchell
as Andy Wayne
John Allen Vick
as Sheriff Simms
James Canning
as Dick Baxter
Regina Walden
as Mrs. Kobritz
Darrow Igus
as Mel Sloane
Bill Taylor
as Bartender
Jim Canning
as Dick Baxter
Jim Haynie
as Hank Jones
John F. Goff
as Al Williams
Darwin Joston
as Dr. Phibes
John Strobel
as Grocery Clerk
Lee Sacks
as Ghost
John Carpenter
as Bennett (assistant at the church) (uncredited)
View All

News & Interviews for The Fog

Critic Reviews for The Fog

All Critics (52) | Top Critics (6)

  • The Fog is an...atmospheric chiller, in which a luminous fog rolls into a Californian seaside town, bringing the ghosts of vengeful sailors, killed in a shipwreck a century before.

    Nov 2, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Ed Potton

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • It's one of the director's most atmospheric, the shots of a wave-lashed cove and fog-choked headland making the town's impending reckoning almost poetic.

    Oct 25, 2018 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Phil Hoad

    Guardian
    Top Critic
  • Ultimately, it's a John Carpenter movie: concerned with group dynamics, unhelpful authority figures, strong women, the sins of the past, and that moment when helpless isolation shades into outright terror.

    Oct 24, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Carpenter scared the wits out of audiences from coast to coast with Halloween. That was a treat. But The Fog is merely a series of bewitching tricks assembled by a film-school craftsman who believed that he could frighten people with slick gimmickry.

    Apr 28, 2018 | Full Review…
  • "The Fog" is more spooky yarn than streamlined scream machine; it's the sort of crowd pleaser best enjoyed with an audience.

    Sep 24, 2005 | Full Review…
  • The movie's made with style and energy, but it needs a better villain.

    Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Fog

  • Aug 26, 2016
    A highly underrated horror gem by the great John Carpenter. So many great scenes and the score is one of Carpenter's best. Delivers relentless unpretentious thrills from beginning to end.
    Christopher H Super Reviewer
  • Aug 22, 2015
    The Fog is John Carpenter's first offering immediately following the tremendous, well-deserved success of Halloween. Call it the sophomore jinx or the pressure of generating the same kind of success that he did on Halloween, The Fog was reportedly fraught with production problems, didn't make sense when first edited and viewed by Carpenter, so much so that he re-shot or added a full 30 minutes of new footage, including the opening campfire story scene, to help tell the story and eliminate confusion. He also added some violence, feeling The Fog lacked scares. In the end, Carpenter has said this is his least favorite film he made, due to the production problems and disappointment following Halloween. But let's face it, Halloween is a masterpiece which defined and created the benchmark for a genre, and you simply cannot do that twice, let alone back-to-back and with only 3 theatrically released films to his credit at age 32. And Assault on Precinct 13 is pretty primitive and simplistic. By comparison, Halloween was a quantum leap in terms of story and direction. The Fog is actually a good movie with a decent, if a bit odd, mystery backstory to explain the curse on the folks at Antonio Bay. Carpenter again, wisely, avoids graphic violence or gore, and sticks to slow, atmoshperic build up with some decent spooky set pieces including the Elizabeth Dane ghost ship and the coastal town and lighthouse. This is a respectable, simple ghost story which was made on yet another tiny budget - 1 million, and earned more than 20 million, setting up Carpenter for his first big-budget horror movie 2 years later, The Thing. The Fog is a good entry-level horror movie for those who are easily frightened, and probably should have been rated PG. Surely it would have fit the PG-13 mold a few years later. Overall, a worthy ghost story and one of Carpenter's best. (Sorry, John!).
    Mark H Super Reviewer
  • Oct 20, 2013
    A very simplistic story executed in an engaging way. The great music elevates the film.
    Anoop K Super Reviewer
  • Jan 05, 2013
    Typical John carpenter film, the music, the slow atmospheric setup. During he's prime you couldn't blame carpenter for being a studio fool. He didn't accept the big budget films that would of spear headed he's career, he chose odd films that gave him a devoted following. The cast of actors of the time are quite good. Curtis could of continued being the carpenter muse as she seemed to be a sign of a good film. Like any carpenter film the stars either ham up the screen or offer something much more interesting. The build up gives character creation which most horror films lack, at least when the characters begin to fall you care a little about them. Carpenter crafts a frightening atmospheric horror film that slowly builds the terror. Obviously in he's prime you can overlook some of the poor casting decisions. The one thing I enjoyed about the original Halloween was build up and this is very much the same. The music is a sign of carpenter devotion and he doesn't let this slip. The writing is great for a horror film of this nature. It's great to see a studio create something beyond the normal cut and run. As silly as the plot seems this actually a fun film and worthy of the journey. The fog rains a terror of destruction and thanks to some interesting characters this one to remember.
    Brendan N Super Reviewer

The Fog Quotes

News & Features