THE FOG (2005)
Music composed by Graeme Revell
Label: Varèse Sarabande
302 066 697 2
Year: 2005

1. Prologue
2. God's Country
3. Anchor Lockup
4. It Wants Us
5. The Hallmark
6. Shower Love
7. Elizabeth
8. Boathouse
9. Statues
10. Lights Out
11. Island History
12. The Search
13. Burned Image
14. It's Here
15. Crime Aboard
16. Tragedy On The Elizabeth Dane
17. The Reckoning
18. The Fog Recedes
19. Epilogue

Total Time: 39:20

Reviewed by
Jorge Saldanha


Question: when do you realize you are really getting older?
Answer: when some of your favourite movies as a teenager start to being remade!

Yes, as a big fan of both George A. Romero and John Carpenter, now I can say that I'm an old guy. The 2004's remake of the classic Romero's Dawn of The Dead was a positive surprise, the 2005's new version of Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13 was "ok", but unnecessary... and now comes this new The Fog, based on Carpenter's little classic released in 1980.

When the news about this remake produced by John Carpenter himself and based on his own original screenplay started to pop out at the net, horror fans got enormously excited. The film is directed by Robert Wainwright and starred by Tom Welling (Smallville), Maggie Grace (Lost) e Selma Blair (Hellboy), the main plot remained the same: one hundred years ago, in a thick, eerie fog off the rocky coast of Northern California, a horrible shipwreck occurred under mysterious circumstances. Now, shrouded in darkness, the ghosts of the long-dead sailors have returned from their watery graves to exact their bloody, merciless revenge. The excitment around the project was easily understandable: with state of the art cinematography and visual effects technology, the film surely would rock, right? Unfortunately, it seems that's not the case.

The film sank at the box-office and was universally turned to ashes by the critics. "Unnecessary" was the lightiest word used to describe it. To be fair I must say I still didn't watch the movie, but I know that some of the typical effectiveness of Carpenter's films come from his moody craftmanship and music. The original Fog had an electronic and haunting score by Carpenter, something I wish it had remained somehow attached to the new project. It didn't happened though, and now we have a brand new score, labeled as "mystical and terrifying", by Graeme Revell. Revell is an ascending star among film music composers. His credits include The Crow, Collateral Damage, Daredevil and David Twohy's Pitch Black and Chronicles of Riddick (for me this is one of his finest scores to date). Most recently Revell completed double-scoring duties with Robert Rodriguez for Sin City and Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3D. Other recent Revell-scored projects include Harsh Times, Goal!, Aeon Flux and Activision's video game Call of Duty 2.

The main problem for me it's the new score's lack of originality - a current plague in the business. I recognize that today is very hard for a composer to write a really original work, after all we are talking about film music, that has it's well known established and consecrated rules. Nevertheless Revell wrote only another standard horror score, and the horror music cliché is to develop and sustain tension through not so unexpected shocks and scares. This isn't the kind of soundtrack you'll put on for repeated listening, but still it is worthwhile to appreciate the kind of sinister ambiance that Revell has put together to create music that transmits apprehension and panic to the listener.

By all means, Revell's The Fog is far to be a bad effort. His challenge was to give to the real star of the film - the malevolent force represented by the fog itself - a menacing voice, a dark personality. At least on disc it seems he had succeeded to achieve this task, since the score demonstrates an ever-present menace. Differently from Carpenter's music, Revell samples wider orchestra colors. It's still primarily electronic music but the scale is increased. Music alternates scary and loud passages with moments of mystery. From time to time some electronic tonalities and piano interventions evoke to the listener the original movie's score. The piano and bells during "Statues" gives to the piece a genuine haunting feeling - it's a score highlight. I just wish that the score could include more moments like this.