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The Fog: Unrated Director's Cut (2005)

If Hollywood deems to remake a picture, it stands to reason that the best films to give a second spin to are the ones that were not perfect in the first place. And though John Carpenter's 1980 The Fog has its admirers (and there are plenty of things to admire), it's a tone piece that got muddled because it wasn't enough of a slasher effort to appease the producers hoping for Halloween redux. Alas, the people behind the 2005 remake of The Fog did not learn from the original's mistakes and found themselves aping the current horror trends to absolutely no returns. "Smallville"'s Superman Tom Welling stars as Nick Castle, a fisherman returning to Antonio Bay, Ore., to get himself some feminine r-and-r with local disc jockey Stevie Wayne (Selma Blair) when he runs across ex-girlfriend Elizabeth Williams (Maggie Grace). But as the town is about to celebrate its four founding fathers, an ominous fog bank moves in. Since this is a modern retelling, the first signs of the attack happen on a boat with the film's wisecracking black comic support character Spooner (DeRay Davis) and some scantily clad women (who keep their clothes on even in the "Unrated Director's Cut"). The fog is made up of leprous pirates who were murdered by the founding fathers, and they've returned to get their revenge — which involves coming up through sinks and killing off secondary characters. Hollywood has perfected the cost-effective horror flick: make it cheap but with a name star (like Robert De Niro or Michael Keaton), a bunch of TV actors, or have it be a name-recognition remake (The Amityville Horror), and then open it on an off-holiday weekend to take number-one at the box-office, only to fade from memory until the film hits DVD. There it comes in a theatrical release and the "Unrated Director's Cut" that adds a couple of minutes that weren't all that missed in the first place. Following this formula to a T, 2005's The Fog is surely a success: Made for $18 million, it grossed $29 million in the theaters and will surely turn a healthy profit on home video. This sort of quick-buck filmmaking is very lucrative, but anyone looking for entertainment or scares will be thwarted by this mess. It's hard to tell if the actors are as devoid of talent as the movie makes them appear, or if they knew how awful it would be and just gave up. To put a face on this pain, it should be noted that Selma Blair plays a DJ. And as appealing as Selma Blair may or may not be, her voice is not her strongest attribute — in fact, she usually sounds like a petulant little girl, not a sultry chanteuse. But she does have name recognition (for which it's likely she was paid handsomely). The horror genre is essentially a director's playground — it allows for the purest expressions of style over substance, and here director Rupert Wainwright shows that his talents are best suited for industrial videos or weddings. Sony presents The Fog: Unrated Director's Cut (running mere moments longer than the theatrical version) in a good anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras include a commentary by director Rupert Wainwright, a deleted scenes reel with optional director commentary (15 min.), the featurettes "Whiteout Conditions: The Remaking of a Horror Classic" (8 min.), "Seeing through The Fog" (10 min.) and "Feeling the effects of The Fog" (14 min.), and bonus trailers. Keep-case.

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