Directed by Rupert Wainwright, starring Tom Welling, Maggie Grace, Selma Blair, DeRay Davis, Kenneth Welsh and Adrian Hough.

When it comes to cash-ins, few directors have had their legendary status as badly tarnished as John Carpenter. The original 'Halloween' was followed by a series of dreary sequels - some of which Carpenter produced - and the director himself also made a follow-up to his cult classic 'Escape from New York', which despite having an estimated budget of $50m, managed to look cheaper than the $6m original. Last year there was a non-event remake of Carpenter's brilliant urban western 'Assault on Precinct 13' and now his 1980 chiller 'The Fog' has been dusted off for the teen market, complete with 'Smallville' beefcake Tom Welling in the lead role. It's as lame a horror as you'll see in this or any other year and, most galling of all, Carpenter produced it.

The story remains faithful to the original. Antonio Island (it was Antonio Bay in the 1980 movie) is about to celebrate its 100th anniversary. But while the preparations for the big night are almost complete, the atmosphere in the town is becoming ever more eerie. Unexplained phenomena, missing seafarers, a fog that doesn't follow normal patterns...with fisherman Nick Castle (Welling), former girlfriend Elizabeth Williams ('Lost' star Grace) and local radio DJ Stevie Wayne (Blair) trying to put together the pieces of their island's troubled and bloody history.

Carpenter fans were never going to be happy with this remake, but newcomers won't find much here to interest or scare them either. Devoid of atmosphere and lacking in energy, 'The Fog' is yet another in a line of vacuous horrors that makes you long for the genre's glory decade on video in the 1980s. Whereas the original assembled wily old pros - Janet Leigh, Hal Holbrook, Jon Houseman -  with rising star Jamie Lee Curtis, the low-key Tom Atkins and Carpenter's wife Adrienne Barbeau, the mist out in Dublin Bay has more screen presence than the eye candy on offer here.

Abandon ship.

Harry Guerin