Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ryan Watches a Motion Picture #14: The Fog (1980)

Will no one save my son?

John Carpenter is by far one of my fave directors, and he's made some of my fave flicks, but the Fog just didn't hit me right. I suspect it's a generation thing - you either grew up along with it and accepted it or you didn't. Or maybe I've just been spoiled by the awesomeness that was Carpenter's later work.

So yeah, the Fog didn't offer too much for me. Now, the film looks and sounds great, and I've loved Carpenter all these years for the two things he does effin' well - atmosphere and music, which he writes himself. The Fog isn't short on fantastic cinematography, and Carpenter's foreboding electronic score is great, as always. It has some interesting if mostly inexplicable characters, but is slow to move, and when it does move, it isn't quite as grand as you'd hope. The plot doesn't start to ramp up until it hits the hour mark, and the final sequences, with the exception of maybe the last few seconds, don't quite reach a height worth climbing to.

Carpenter's films usually contain logical blind spots that pop up once or twice, like when characters know things they shouldn't know, or when obvious problems are ignored. But in the Fog it feels like a heavy dosage, and I was actually incredibly irritated by the repetitive shouts of a radio DJ to save her son from a threat she really shouldn't have known was there. She shrieks at us for at least three or four minutes. I really wanted her son to get ripped apart by sea ghosts by that point. The films I watch don't usually irritate me like that, and I used to be a such a nice guy.

So: Meh. Sorry, Carpenter. I can't tell if you failed me or if I failed you.

1 comment:

madkevin said...

It's not you - The Fog is pretty terrible, and it seemed pretty terrible even at the time post-Halloween. Atmospheric, as you say, and a great soundtrack, and of course Adrian Barbeau's gravity-defying rack has it's own earthy charms. But it's definitely a lesser Carpenter.