John Carpenter's The Fog is a good ghost story movie, but nothing more. I would actually go to say that the actual movie experience leaves some disappointment, and I think the rest of the viewers would agree with me. Carpenter builds up the characters exhaustively without too much substance to back it up, and we don't really get any pay off during the ending. Besides that, the pacing is actually quite slow, and is slower than most other Carpenter movies. However, the atmosphere, soundtrack, and gorgeous cinematography are clearly the highlights of the film, and probably the only highlights of the film. This movie probably falls right in the middle of John Carpenter's arsenal. It's no where near being at the top portion, but it's still better than most of the stuff he's done in the past 15 years. The kills are really good, but we just don't see much of them, and they don't seem to happen to the important people. The movie itself could have been much better killing off some of the lead characters or at least involving a good twist in the plot, but we really get none of that during viewing.
** 1/2 out of 5.
John Carpenter's The Fog arrives on Blu-ray with a 2.35:1 framed transfer in full 1080p, only being available in the U.K. Most of the film looks quite clean, but nothing overly striking. Colors are consistently vibrant, and the film itself looks quite clean from any scratches or visible compression blocking. However, the Fog is not without it's faults. The Fog suffers from a pretty good amount of edge enhancement, which is easily visible because most of the film itself is dark. Of-coarse, with EE in a dark setting, you get crushed blacks which destroy any shadow detail. I wouldn't say the EE is as bad as Studio Canal's Escape from New York, but it's up there. While we are on the same topic of Escape from New York, the Fog receives a better treatment from Studio Canal. Escape from New York received NO gain in resolution or colors compared to the DVD, and only received the ugliest edge enhancement that the Blu-ray format has ever seen, which makes EFNY WORSE than the DVD. You can relax though, because even though The Fog received a good level of Edge Enhancement (nothing near the Escape from New York level, but close), it also receives a huge upgrade in it's color palette and resolution detail.
When compared to the DVD, the Blu-ray still trumps it in comparison, but not be a "huge" victory. The colors on the Blu-ray display the largest difference, being almost twice as vibrant and pleasureful to look at. The resolution on the blu-ray is also obviously higher, displaying more detail where detail could not be seen on the DVD due to the lower resolution. Even with the slightly ugly edge enhancement, the Blu-ray still trumps the DVD, and is still easily the best way to view The Fog. If it wasn't for the vibrant colors that the Blu-ray contains, I probably would recommend the DVD over the Blu-ray. Sure, the resolution may be a step up, but the edge enhancement isn't detracting on the DVD at all.
*** out of 5
The audio on The Fog arrives with a DTS-HD 5.1 soundtrack. The audio seems clear, with some good use of the surrounds. However, one must remember the soundboard design is still from 1980, so what we get is lower quality sound effects, and weaker directional audio that just doesn't sound as crisp and clear as a newer movie. John Carpenter's The Fog relies on shocking horror to scare the audience. Using this horror method, sound must be placed at the right moment and at the correct audible level. Sometimes, I felt the sound could have been louder for certain frights. As it stands, all of us jumped out of our seat a few times, which does show some effectiveness in the sound design. However, all that has been discussed isn't an issue with the DTS-HD transfer, but more-so with the dated sound design. Basically, the DTS-HD won't impress, but it gets the job done in lossless quality, especially with Carpenter's score.....for an early 80s movie.
*** out of 5.
Overall *** out of 5.
John Carpenter's The Fog does indeed contain a dated soundtrack, but the DTS-HD gets the job done. The video quality is very vibrant and also receives an incremental upgrade in clarity due to the enhanced resolution compared to the DVD which is a pleasure to look at, but edge enhancement rears it's ugly head into the picture, which lessens the overall visual quality. The movie itself is very bland, but it's certainly not a bad John Carpenter movie. It's just no where near the front-forward of his arsenal, and makes for a very good "Stephen-King like" ghost story that does contain some pretty nice atmosphere. John Carpenter's The Fog is still best viewed on Blu-ray, but it could have been a lot better with Edge Enhancement removed and a ground-up sound design restoration.
Is it recommended? I wouldn't pay over $10 for it, and I would probably expect a better transfer in the distant future when it arrives to the US. Still, if you want to view John Carpenter's The Fog in the best way possible, this is the one to get. Just don't expect to be overly impressed.
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