Australian Council on Children and the Media

Fog, The

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Short takes

Not recommended under 15 (Viol. Scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Fog, The
  • a review of Fog, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 3 February 2006.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 15 Based on its content of gruesome violence and disturbing visual images, this movie is not recommended for children under the age of fifteen years. Parents are strongly cautioned that younger children may be scared and disturbed, if not traumatised, by the violence and images in this movie.
Children over the age of 15 As the film has a minimal amount of on screen blood and gore, older adolescents who enjoy the horror movie genre, would probably be ok to see this movie.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Fog, The
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Moderate horror violence
Length 100 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The film’s opening scene, set in the 1870s, depicts four men in a row boat rowing away from a burning sailing schooner from which people, themselves in flames, are jumping into the ocean.
The film then jumps to the present day where the small Oregon community of Antonio Island is preparing to celebrate the unveiling of four statues honouring the town’s legendary heroic founding fathers (the four from the rowboat in the opening scene). Soon strange events begin to occur, antique heirlooms begin to wash up on the beach and an unnatural fogbank develops off shore. The fog surrounds a charter boat and supernatural forces hidden within the fog kill three of the boat’s four occupants leaving the fourth to be found the next day barely alive in the boat’s freezer.

Among the townspeople are charter boat skipper, Nick Castle (Tom Welling), Nick’s ex-girlfriend, Elizabeth Williams (Maggie Grace) and Stevie Wayne (Selma Blair), all of whom are descendants of the founding fathers. When Elizabeth finds an old journal written by one of founding fathers she uncovers a dark secret that the Island’s prosperity was built upon gold stolen from a group of wealthy lepers, who the founders murdered by setting their schooner on fire. The malevolent spirits of the dead lepers, led by the ghostly Captain Blake (Rade Sherbedgia) are The Fog, and are back to wreak revenge on the descendants of the murderous founding fathers.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

The Fog contains numerous acts of gruesome violence, mostly committed by vengeful spirits, including:

  • a phantom hand pulls a man from a rowboat to drown him
  • the bodies of two women are thrown through the glass window of a boat’s cabin
  • a knife is wheeled through the air by phantom forces and embedded in a man’s forehead
  • unseen forces hold Elizabeth Williams under the water, trying to drown her
  • a man bursts into flames and then catapults through a door like a cannonball
  • the hand of a phantom reaches up through a kitchen sink to grab hold of a woman; the woman’s flesh instantaneously decomposes leaving only a charred skeleton behind
  • Stevie Wayne is held under the water by menacing phantoms
  • one of the founding fathers shoots a leper through the eye
  • the founding fathers pour inflammable liquid over the deck of the leper’s ship and then set it on fire
  • a priest is impaled with shards of glass
  • one of the descendants of the founding fathers is consumed by a fire generated by the wraiths.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above mentioned violent scenes, there are some scary scenes in this movie that could seriously disturb children under the age of five, including:

  • people are consumed by flames as they jump from the side of a ship into the sea
  • people explode into flames
  • gruesome images of a dead man with his eyes stitched closed
  • a dead dog that appears to have been scorched to death by flame
  • moving fog that has a sinister life-like quality that covers boats and towns as if it was consuming them
  • a man has gruesome gory gashes to his face which make the flesh look as if it is rotting away
  • numerous gruesome images of wraiths in the fog that resemble rotting corpses
  • a dead body (the one with stitched up eyes) becomes animated, getting up from a table and walking and talking
  • gruesome images of people suffering from leprosy with rotting flesh covering their faces
  • a woman watches the flesh on her hands and arms rot away, with the process quickly consuming her entire body.
  • The Fog chases a young boy along the beach and through his home. The boy hides in his bedroom and seals up gaps in his bedroom door with masking tape to prevent the fog from entering.
  • The film contains a number of instances where sudden startling loud sounds occur without warning, such as glass suddenly shattering. There are two unexpected car crashes with loud sounds and strong visual images.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be scared or disturbed by scenes described above.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

All of the violence, scary visual images and threatening situations described above could also scare or disturb children between the ages of eight and thirteen years.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Many children in this age bracket could also be scared by the violence, scary visual images and suspense of this movie.

Sexual references

The film contains a few sexual references, including:

  • Women have testicular telepathy.
  • Why did I give you my cell phone? Because I’m six feet of love.
  • Coats bad, naked good (referring to two bikini-clad women putting on jackets to keep themselves warm.)
  • Let’s go to your place for some wild and crazy sex.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is no nudity, but some scantily clad women, including:

  • two partially intoxicated and very attractive women dressed in jeans and bikini tops dance in a sensuous manner on a charter boat.
  • the movie’s lead female characters, Elizabeth and Stevie, dress in a shirt tops while wearing lacy sensuous skimpy underwear and revealing as much leg as possible.

There is one scene in which there is sexual activity: Elizabeth and Nick are naked in the shower being passionately intimate. Many of the images are shot through the glass of the shower cubicle providing a distorted view of the pair and with one quick glimpse of one Elizabeth’s breasts. Clearer images of the pair without the distortion of the glass show them rubbing their hands up and down each other’s backs and passionately kissing. Side and back views of their upper torsos only are shown.

Use of substances

The film contains infrequent instances of substance use, including:

  • two women on a charter boat drink alcohol and act in a slightly intoxicated manner.
  • several scenes in which a priest consumes alcohol from a hip flask, while acting in a somewhat intoxicated and incoherent manner.

 

Coarse language

The film contains only a few instances of mild coarse language, including:

  • shit
  • hell
  • arse

In a nutshell

The movie’s main message is about revenge for past misdeeds and a present generation coming to terms with the truth behind the murderous acts committed by their forefathers. There are no worthwhile or meaningful values for parents to discuss.

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