[Screen It]

(2005) (Tom Welling, Maggie Grace) (PG-13)

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Horror: Residents of a small town must deal with the supernatural fog that rolls in carrying the malevolent and vengeful spirits of those killed a century ago.
Antonio Bay is located on a remote island off the coast of Oregon, and many of the people there make a living by fishing or taking others fishing, such as Nick Castle (TOM WELLING). Yet, when he and first-mate Spooner (DERAY DAVIS) accidentally snag a centuries old bag on the sea floor with their anchor, little are they aware of what's soon going to wash up.

Part of that's Elizabeth Williams (MAGGIE GRACE), Nick's one-time girlfriend who suddenly disappeared six months ago and moved to New York to get away from her mother Kathy (SARA BOTSFORD). She's now returned following a series of disturbing but confusing dreams about terror and murder on a centuries old schooner. It doesn't make any sense to her, but it soon will and already has to the local priest Father Malone (ADRIAN HOUGH) who's taken up drinking and has packed his bags to get off the island while the going's good.

And that's because a mysterious and thick fog bank is headed their way. First reported by Dan the weatherman (JONATHON YOUNG) to solo radio deejay Stevie Wayne (SELMA BLAIR) -- who leaves her young son Andy (COLE HEPPELL) with his Aunt Connie (MARY BLACK) when she broadcasts from the top of the island's lighthouse -- the fog rolls in and brings with it something from the past.

While entertaining two young women on Nick's boat, Spooner and Nick's cousin Sean (MATTHEW CURRIE HOLME) are the first to encounter the vengeful spirits that reside in the fog. As those ghastly apparitions -- led by the long dead Captain Blake (RADE SHERBEDGIA) -- make their way through the town, killing anyone who crosses their path, Nick and Elizabeth try to figure out what's going on and avoid the vengeful spirits.

OUR TAKE: 3.5 out of 10
This remake of the 1980 horror film -- which was writer/director John Carpenter's follow-up to his break-out hit "Halloween" -- follows the same basic plot and includes the same or at least similar scenes for those familiar with the first flick. While nothing great, the original had some decent scares as well as a successful representation of an isolated town and the omnipresent and menacing titular weather condition that invaded it.

It also had John Houseman, Hal Holbrook and Adrienne Barbeau doing her sultry deejay voice thing, as well as one Jamie Lee Curtis fresh off her killing (or so she thought) of Mike Myers (no, not Austin Powers, but the masked boogeyman from "Halloween"), thus giving the film a touch of depth and horror pedigree.

Little to none of that's present here in this by the numbers horror thriller that's populated by a cast of otherwise fairly unknown performers (beyond Selma Blair and unless one is familiar with and/or a fan of the TV series "Smallville" -- from where lead actor Tom Welling comes).

It has one decently staged creep-out scene (even if it's borrowed from the original) but nary a character we care or will worry about. And like the original, the film's central fault is that it's missing a concrete villain to root against or be scared of (fog and mostly unidentified ghostly apparitions can only go so far before becoming repetitive).

That might have been okay had director Rupert Wainwright (who also helmed "Stigmata") and screenwriter Cooper Layne managed to evoke the sort of dread and relentless momentum that fueled "Aliens" (where the "villains" where non-personified monsters). Sadly that doesn't occur. The effort isn't terrible and it's certainly not the worst or most bungled horror film you'll ever see, but it's undeniably bland and boring, too deadly traits for a genre such as this.

The full review is coming soon, but you probably get the gist of how we feel about this mediocre offering.

Reviewed October 14, 2005 / Posted October 14, 2005

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