Certain films are acclaimed right away, others find that acclaim in retrospect and “The Fog” did just that. After such overnight success with “Halloween” which practically invented the slasher film genre, John Carpenter had to follow it up with something spectacular and so he and Debra Hill delivered this quite simple but effective ghost story.
Sadly at the time ‘The Fog’ never truly found an audience, in fact a dismal test screening forced numerous changes to be added late in the mix, and the final result went over only OK with critics and at the box-office. Yet something about it caught interest, and as the years progressed by “The Fog” began building its own loyal band of supporters through the video market to the point where its become something of a cult hit.
Today in retrospect, whilst “The Fog” isn’t as widely acclaimed as Carpenter’s other post-Halloween efforts like “Escape from New York”, “Big Trouble in Little China” or “The Thing” it still stands up as certainly one of his most creepy flicks and superior to all of his post ‘Little China’ projects. Carpenter is the opposite to Kevin Smith – Smith is a truly superb dialogue writer who’s not so great at developing story or plot, Carpenter’s films are thrill rides designed around clever and intriguing central concepts but the execution leaves a little to be desired. Dialogue is cheesy and forced, some of the performances are quite shonky, subplots go nowhere and elements are thrown in with little use or linkage aside from providing one or two scenes of action.
Yet for all the ‘bad’ qualities of it, there’s a lot to admire here. The atmosphere of not only terror, but isolation is effectively established and maintained throughout. The plot itself, when it does get going, is an admirable one and comes to an interesting conclusion. The special FX considering the low budget and time it was made are effective, that techno score that is trademark of his films twangs in the background, and the action remains pretty taught and well paced throughout. This is very B-Grade material folks but sinfully enjoyable B-Grade material which is immense fun for us fans of the genre.