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The Fog

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    77
    from 2 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • The Fog's 4K set impresses despite flaws, celebrating Carpenter's atmospheric horror classic.

    The Fog 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    75
  • The Fog's 4K UHD release enhances visuals but darkens images, showing mixed HDR results and occasional digital issues, yet offers a richer color palette.

  • Audio
    77
  • The disc lacks immersive Dolby Atmos, offering a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track with decent spatial qualities and strong score presentation. The Shout Factory 4K release with Atmos provides a more immersive experience.

  • Extra
    82
  • The UHD package, despite lacking extras, impresses with its content and exquisite 4K UHD steelbook design, featuring extensive extras like documentaries, commentaries, and a 48-page book, all celebrating John Carpenter's cinema.

  • Movie
    80
  • The Fog, a classic ghost story by Carpenter and Hill, captures an eerie atmosphere with masterful cinematography and a haunting narrative of revengeful ghosts, showcasing Carpenter's horror prowess.

    Video: 75

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "The Fog" showcases an ambitious effort to breathe new life into John Carpenter's classic using advanced restoration techniques. Utilizing the original camera negatives and scanning them at 4K resolution in 16-bit, the restoration process embraced an HDR Dolby Vision workflow, culminating in a visually stunning 4K DCP. Despite this, the film retains its original aspect of soft imagery due to the limitations inherent to the source material. Nonetheless, the upgrade manifests subtle enhancements in texture and landscape sharpness, illustrating a modest yet appreciable improvement over previous versions. Presented in a native 4K 3840 x 2160p resolution with a widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio, the disc employs 10-bit video depth, Wide Colour Gamut (WCG), and High Dynamic Range, encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec for HDR10 and Dolby Vision. These technical specifications promise a noteworthy viewing experience, although the picture's overall darkness might challenge some viewers' preferences.

    The HDR application yields mixed consequences; while it enriches colour depth significantly—exemplified by the vivid portrayal of environments and attire—the exceptionally dark tone might surpass what some would consider optimal, occasionally obfuscating details in shadow-heavy scenes. This intensified darkness, notably in interior scenes within the lighthouse and church, might detract from the visual clarity, contrasting sharply with outdoor scenes that benefit from enhanced black levels and dynamic contrast. Interestingly, this release has sparked discussions regarding its peak brightness levels and compatibility with various display technologies, indicating that OLED and projector displays might offer a more faithful reproduction compared to certain LED TVs.

    Digital anomalies present themselves sparingly, with notable macroblocking around specific scenes involving glowing objects, alongside an occasional greying of blacks that may distract. However, these issues are relatively isolated, with the majority of the film free from digital defects. The grain structure, preserved from the original source, remains mostly consistent, maintaining the film’s cinematic integrity. Overall, while "The Fog" on 4K UHD Blu-ray presents slight improvements and richer colours thanks to its technical prowess in restoration, its ambitious HDR application and resultant darkness might not cater to all tastes, marking a release that is both technically impressive yet somewhat divisive among purists and home cinema enthusiasts alike.

    Audio: 77

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "The Fog" presents an audio experience that, while lacking in cutting-edge immersive surround tracks such as Dolby Atmos or DTS-X, still manages to deliver a satisfying auditory journey with its existing DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround sound track. Notably, this release does not upgrade its audio capabilities but rather continues the legacy of its predecessors by offering the same DTS-HD MA 5.1 track. Despite this, the intricacies within the soundscape are appreciable, with a prominent front-heavy mix that provides clear and intelligible dialogue, predominantly anchored towards the screen's front. The surround channels are subtly employed to enhance atmospheric elements, particularly noticeable in tense sequences involving ghostly attacks and dynamic crowd scenes, thereby providing a layer of immersion that, while not groundbreaking, adds a depth to the viewing experience.

    The audio tracks available include an uncompressed PCM 2.0 and the aforementioned DTS-HD MA 5.1, both presented in high-resolution 24-bit audio quality. The DTS-HD Master Audio track particularly shines with its ability to bring out the richness of the film's score, utilizing the surround environment effectively to envelop the listener. While bass response is moderate, with low-frequency effects being somewhat limited, impactful moments do carry the necessary weight – most notably during climactic scenes – enhancing the overall impact of these sequences. Additionally, the mix allows for detailed ambient sound placement, such as the nuanced sound of the sea and waves, which further contributes to the atmospheric quality of the film's soundscape.

    It's worth noting that for those with the capability, an Atmos-equipped setup may offer a more immersive experience as seen in other releases like the Shout Factory edition. However, within the constraints of this particular release's technology, both the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track and LPCM 2.0 option offer their own strengths. The former ensures a fairly engaging surround sound experience that, while not at the forefront of audio technology, successfully complements the visual spectacle of "The Fog," making it an enjoyable auditory experience for viewers.

    Extra: 82

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "The Fog" offers a substantial array of extras across its two-disc setup, primarily housed on the accompanying Blu-ray disc and aimed squarely at cinema enthusiasts and Carpenter aficionados alike. Although the 4K disc itself is void of special features, the package compensates with a wealth of content, including high-definition retrospectives and interviews, vintage featurettes, and a collection of visual and auditory extras that enrich the viewing experience. Notably, the detailed retrospectives and the inclusion of both commentary tracks provide an in-depth look into the film's creation and legacy. This edition is also visually appealing, with a steelbook design that complements its contents, making it a desirable collectible for fans of Carpenter's work and steelbook collectors. The craftsmanship of the physical extras, such as the poster and art cards, alongside a comprehensive 48-page book by Kim Newman, further solidify this release as a meticulously curated homage to "The Fog."

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Retribution: Uncovering John Carpenter’s THE FOG: A new documentary with key production members.
    • The Shape of The Thing to Come: John Carpenter Un-filmed: A featurette on Carpenter's unmade films.
    • Intro by John Carpenter: An interview from 2003.
    • Scene Analysis by John Carpenter: Carpenter analyzing key scenes.
    • Fear on Film: Inside the Fog (1980): A vintage featurette.
    • The Fog: Storyboard to Film: A comparison featurette.
    • Outtakes
    • TV Spots
    • Theatrical Trailers
    • Photo Gallery: Includes behind-the-scenes photos.
    • Audio Commentary with John Carpenter and Debra Hill.
    • Horror's Hallowed Grounds with Sean Clark: A tour of filming locations.
    • Audio Commentary with actors Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins, and Tommy Lee Wallace.

    Movie: 80

    The Fog," directed by John Carpenter and produced alongside Debra Hill, emerges as an exemplary classic within the realm of horror cinema, demonstrating a fascinating convergence of old-fashioned ghost storytelling and riveting visual craftsmanship. At its core, the film articulates a simple yet profound narrative, inspired by Carpenter's vision of ghostly figures emanating from a fog bank to haunt the descendants of the town responsible for their demise. This premise unfolds within the small town of Antonio Bay, setting a backdrop for a story that not only capitalizes on the allure of ghost tales but also explores the thematic depth of guilt and retribution. With John Houseman’s opening scene setting a compelling narrative tone, the film’s gradual build-up exacerbates the tension, leveraging seemingly mundane elements to foreshadow an impending terror as the town commemorates its centenary. Despite criticisms pointing towards its conventional plot and underdeveloped character arcs – save for Adrienne Barbeau's standout performance as Stevie Wayne – "The Fog" maintains its status as a commendable entry in Carpenter’s filmography, distinguished by its atmospheric delivery and storytelling prowess.

    From a technical standpoint, "The Fog" stands out for its masterful cinematography by Dean Cundey and meticulous editing by Charles Bornstein and Tommy Lee Wallace, which together amplify the film’s eerie aesthetic. The production design by Tommy Lee Wallace, coupled with Craig Stearns’ art direction, crafts an immersive environment that enhances the narrative’s suspenseful undertones. This visual excellence, combined with Carpenter’s adept direction and original score, envelops the audience in a consistently foreboding atmosphere, culminating in a cinematic experience that is both visually entrancing and hauntingly memorable. Despite budgetary limitations and initial challenges that necessitated additional shooting for enhanced gore, Carpenter and Hill’s commitment to enriching the film’s horror elements underscores their dedication to delivering a gripping horror tale. Consequently, "The Fog" not only captivates with its storyline but also leaves an indelible mark through its innovative use of lighting, set design, and cinematic pacing – trademarks of Carpenter's directorial finesse and his profound understanding of the horror genre.

    Total: 77

    John Carpenter's "The Fog" stands as a testament to the mastery of suspense and atmospheric horror, presenting a tale that weaves supernatural vengeance with the eerie backdrop of Antonio Bay. This 4K UHD Blu Ray edition by Studiocanal, while not vastly superior in terms of visual upgrade due to some of its darkness and limited detail enhancements, does offer a visually stimulating experience. The colors are pronounced, and the high dynamic range adds to the atmospheric tension of Carpenter's storytelling. Unfortunately, it suffers from some macroblocking issues in key climactic scenes that may detract from the overall viewing experience. The audio, despite not being updated to the perhaps expected Dolby Atmos, still presents a commendable DTS-HD MA 5.1 track that, while slightly front-loaded, successfully immerses the viewer with effective use of ambient sounds and the haunting score.

    The package truly shines with its comprehensive suite of extras that elevate this edition to a collector's must-have. Spanning four discs, including a soundtrack CD that appeals to Carpenter's fans, as well as booklets and artcards, it underscores the film's cult status and provides an in-depth exploration of its creation and legacy. This wealth of material offers both newcomers and long-time fans unique insights into "The Fog" and its place within Carpenter’s oeuvre. The inclusion of these materials notably contrasts with what some might see as a missed opportunity in not offering the Dolby Atmos sound mix that is available in other releases, such as the Shout Factory edition.

    In conclusion, this 4K UHD release of "The Fog" by Studiocanal is a compelling acquisition for enthusiasts of Carpenter's work and horror aficionados alike. Despite some limitations in visual and audio upgrades, the set distinguishes itself with an impressive array of supplementary materials. The release not only enhances the appreciation for this classic ghost story but also reinforces John Carpenter’s legacy as a master storyteller in the horror genre. Enthusiasts should consider this release a valuable addition to their collections, even if it might leave audiophiles yearning for the audio depth provided by newer formats like Dolby Atmos.