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Movie Review

Antonio Bay is a beautiful and prosperous seaside community in the Pacific Northwest—”God’s country,” as a local fisherman describes it. But there’s something much less than godly in the town’s past. In 1871, four of the town’s founding fathers double-crossed and murdered a shipload of lepers who had paid for land near Antonio Bay.

Now, more than a hundred years later, as the townsfolk gather to celebrate those founders, that deep dark past is about to revisit Antonio Bay. Revenge comes in the form of a mysterious fog that hides avenging ghouls who are very particular about whom they haunt: direct descendents of the town’s four founders in the Castle, Williams, Wayne and Malone families. And wouldn’t you know it, Nick, Elizabeth, Stevie and Father Malone all just happen to fit that bill.

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Positive Elements

Despite a strained relationship with her mother, Elizabeth says she must go back to rescue her. Nick bravely puts himself in peril to help others.

Spiritual Content

The underlying premise of the film is that of vengeful ghouls, who seem at times to have bodies (albeit ghastly rotting ones) and other times seem to be wispy spirits. Elizabeth frequently has dreams and visions of the ship’s doomed passengers.

Father Malone finds a biblical warning scrawled on a sarcophagus in the town’s cemetery: “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin.” (It’s the handwriting on the wall described in Daniel 5:25-28.) Father Malone does not adequately translate it, though, leaving out the meaning of mene in Daniel 5:26 (“God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end”) and translating only tekel from Daniel 5:27 (“You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting”). He also paraphrases Jeremiah 32:18, saying, “God will visit the sins of the fathers upon their children.”

Elizabeth reads from a town father's journal: “May God forgive my soul. Can God forgive a man for the sin I’m about to commit?” [Spoiler Warning] Two of the town’s present residents are apparently reincarnated murder victims.

Sexual Content

Nick's friend, Spooner, teases him about his many liaisons with Stevie. Spooner and a minor character have a drunken party on a fishing boat with two young women who wear skimpy bikini tops. Spooner lets it be known how fond he is of naked women, and how proud he is of his sexual prowess.

Nick and Elizabeth kiss passionately in his pickup truck, then Nick suggests going to his place for “some wild and crazy sex.” The camera lingers as the two share a shower, groping each other and kissing passionately (no explicit nudity is seen). They're then shown sleeping in the same bed, from which Elizabeth gets out of wearing a skimpy nightie and panties.

Violent Content

In a flashback, four men lock a ship’s passengers below deck and set the vessel afire. As the ship burns, we see flaming bodies tumble into the water. That imagery is repeated several times throughout the film. In other scenes, victims of the vengeful ghouls are set afire themselves, and in one instance the flaming body is thrown through a door and across a room.

A woman dies an agonizing death as her flesh putrefies before her eyes and then drips from her body; she falls to the floor as a grotesque skeleton. (Her grandson finds her body this way.) A man is killed by huge shards of broken glass, and another is thrown across the room, where he crashes into a glass case. Various bodies are hurled through windows.

A man is killed when a flying knife embeds in his forehead, and the scene is repeated on a videotape that captured the death from a different angle. Several car wrecks are shown, and in one the car careens over a cliff and into the water. The driver struggles to free herself as the vehicle submerges. Another woman almost drowns after falling through the floor of a boathouse, and we see her struggling to free herself from kelp and seaweed as she gasps for air. Nick smashes into a ghoul with his pickup truck, with the results on his windshield looking like he hit a giant bug.

Several scenes show dead bodies, one with his eyes cut out. Two pale corpses are pulled up in a fishing net, and later we see their bodies in the morgue. A rotting hand washes up on the beach. We see the mutilated body of a dead dog. We hear a gunshot and then hear a dog yelp.

Crude or Profane Language

A handful of profanities, including three uses each of the s-word and “d---.” There are a half-dozen uses of “h---.” God’s name is improperly exclaimed twice, and a boy says, “Jeez.”

Drug and Alcohol Content

Father Malone frequently appears to be drunk, and in two scenes he swigs booze directly from a bottle. Spooner and friends hold beers while partying on a boat. When a man mentions that the ship’s engine is dead, Spooner says, “Who cares, we still have beer.” Nick buys Elizabeth a brandy at a restaurant. A woman says she’s going to “whip up a pitcher of martinis.”

Other Negative Elements

Nick tells Elizabeth to withhold potential evidence from the police.

Conclusion

The original version of The Fog was written and directed by horror-meister John Carpenter. It was intended to be a straightforward ghost story, but based on the success of Carpenter’s Halloween two years earlier, he says he felt pressured to up the gore factor. “I just came to a point on The Fog where I said, ‘They have seen Alien, Halloween, Phantasm, and a lot of other movies. If my film is going to be viable in the marketplace, it’s got to compete with those.” He went back and added scenes, including “the hack-and-slash thrills demanded by modern audiences,” according to The Fog’s Web site. That earned the 1980 version of the film an R rating.

If there’s anything positive to say about this otherwise-sorry revisiting of the story, written by Cooper Layne (who also penned 2003’s sci-fi thriller The Core), it’s that it foregoes the worst of the slasher elements. (That’s not to say there’s no gore or violence, though. You know that's not true if you've read straight through this review.) The casual sexuality remains, though, as does the confused spirituality and foul language, making this vaporous offering cold, damp and dark despite its notched-down MPAA rating.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

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Additional Comments/Notes

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