The island of Antonio, Oregon, where over a hundred years ago a colony was founded, although the esteem that the citizens now hold their predecessors in is somewhat at odds with how things really happened. All those years back there had been some kind of altercation which ended with a burning ship, those four founders escaping, and a bundle of treasure sinking to the ocean floor - a bundle which fisherman Nick Castle (Tom Welling) is about to encounter, not that he realises. The anchor for his boat catches on it, nearly capsizing the vessel as he's out taking tourists to fish, and so begins two days of terror...
Or maybe two days of boredom, take your pick. In the remake frenzy of the twenty-first century, The Fog was one film where it was hard to see how it could have been improved upon, not that the original was brilliant, but it did pretty much everything required of it with efficiency. Evidently the creators of that, director John Carpenter and producer Debra Hill who had collaborated on the script, thought otherwise and set in motion this revamped version which emulated the source while never feeling as if it was anything close to getting into top gear. Sadly, Hill never lived to see the shooting begin, but if she had perhaps it might have been a surer film.
Welling was our hero, making an attempt to establish himself as a movie star after a few years on Smallville as Clark Kent - you can see how well that went when he returned to Smallville for a few more years, apparently giving up his big screen ambitions. The makers of The Fog didn't appear to have much faith in him either, as his character vanishes for long passages of the running time, although that could be excused by the nature of the ensemble cast. Yet with no strong hero figure, the characters don't come across as getting to grips with their situation one little bit, reduced to running about as the weather conditions of the title close in, bringing with them middling computer graphics in place of the zombies of the original.
Accompanying Welling was Maggie Grace, fresh from television's Lost, as Elizabeth, a resident of Antonio returning home and and old flame of Nick's. To complicate matters, he also has a vague relationship to the local DJ Stevie Wayne (Selma Blair), who is apparently the sole employee of the area's radio station, based in a lighthouse for late night tunes but nothing approaching a breakfast show. If you're thinking, well, there will be a love triangle to add interest, then forget it as as with much of the potential in this, it never gets off the starting blocks. You're reduced to waiting for the fog to roll in, which it does for one night out at sea... then rolls away again for another tension-sapping day.
Elements of the original survive, such as the revenge being staged by the phantoms of a leper colony that the founders were responsible for bumping off, yet even that "sins of the fathers" theme is underdeveloped and simply lies there with nothing done to bring it to life, or even undeath. Besides, the location is curiously underpopulated, as if there are only about twenty people living the island, which doesn't contribute much to the sense of a whole community being damned. Elizabeth finds out she has more of a connection to the atrocity of over a century past than she ever realised, but overall there's less a try at cleverly updating a solid plot than there is a poorly conceived aim at bolting on modern aspects such as technology which naturally goes wrong in the face of the supernatural, and the unfortunate DeRay Davis who is saddled with a thankless comic relief role with not one funny line. This remake wouldn't give its predecessor sleepless nights. Music by Graeme Revell.