Logline: On the night of its 100th anniversary, a small California coastal town is visited by vengeful ghosts.
The Fog, John Carpenter’s follow-up to Halloween (1978), is a solid chiller. Though the film has its fair share of problems, it is a creepy ghost story with plenty of atmosphere and visuals to hold your interest.
Even though The Fog was a success, it received mixed reviews and Carpenter has never been particularly satisfied with the film. Despite its 91 minute runtime, The Fog drags especially in the beginning. There is no central character, which is detrimental to the film. All of the various characters are one-dimensional and seem present only to serve the story.
Despite these flaws, The Fog has a simple yet effective premise. It is incredibly atmospheric and makes great use of its coastal setting. The film includes another strong score from Carpenter, who makes a cameo as Father Malone’s assistant. The cast includes many Carpenter regulars, including Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Atkins, Adrienne Barbeau, Charles Cyphers, and Nancy Loomis as well as veteran actors Janet Leigh, Hal Holbrook, and John Houseman. All of the actors do a fine job in their respective roles.
Despite its lukewarm reception from critics at the time, The Fog has become a cult favorite. While certainly not among Carpenter’s best work, it is a solid low-budget horror film nonetheless.
Rating (out of ****): ***