By: Bryan Montgomery
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
One of the cornerstones of the 1950s emergence of the monster movie was The Thing. The film was remade in 1982 by John Carpenter, and is widely seen as one of the best films of the era. As is customary in Hollywood over the last ten years, The Thing has now been re-booted as a prequel to the Carpenter classic for a modern audience in a mediocre adaptation. Although it provides more than a few scares and thrills, The Thing fails to produce anything that will stick for more than one viewing.
After a group of scientists discover an alien spacecraft and a frozen creature hidden inside, paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is called in to help identify and preserve the creature. But once the creature break free, the group discovers that not everyone is who they say they are. The alien can mimic and impersonate its prey.
The Thing is one of my favorite classic horror films for a reason. It was a film that jump-started the revolution that created such films as It! The Terror from Beyond Space and will forever be seen as a classic. Carpenter raised the bar with his remake, and luckily studio executives saw that there was no way that this film could be a remake. The powers that be decided that a prequel was the path to go, which creates both good and bad results.
The film manages to contain enough scares where the audience will be able to be entertained during the film’s 100 minute running time. The freakiness of the creature is definitely there, as “The Thing” is visible early and often. From the outset, you can tell that this alien means business, and as the horrifying characteristics are revealed piece-by-piece, you can’t help but anticipate what is going to happen next or which of the individuals the alien is. Two of these revelations are spoiled in the trailer, but where the trailer camera cuts out is where the scene gets good quick.
The visual effects are a strong point of the film, and were better than anticipated. Some of the creations that are spawned from the producer’s creation are definitely inventive. Seeing the gross creations that come out of the victims acts as a nice payoff every time The Thing reveals itself, and is always good for a few scares.
The Thing takes a turn for the better when Lloyd reveals to the group that any one of them could be the alien. The film hits a crossroads with this scene, and begins to take a step towards becoming memorable, but quickly loses the chance with a few drawn-out scenes with some truly awful dialogue and even worse acting.
For any horror film, the characters and their reactions are what make a creature-driven picture work. Take Winstead and Joel Edgerton out of the equation and you have a very mediocre and boring cast of characters. One major fallback of this film is that it reaches the precipice of greatness several time, and simply needs one final push from one of its characters, but simply cannot do it.
The perfect example is the stereotypical stock characters that nearly derail the film. There are so many lambs to the slaughter that I couldn’t even tell the names of all the characters. They came to be known as “The dude with the beard” or “That dude that looks like the grown up version of the kid from The Big Green.” And when they get killed, you just don’t care.
Ripping into this film is so easy because it seems rushed and hastily made, but compared to some other films this year like Dream House, The Thing is definitely one of the better horror films out there. If you’re looking for a scare that will provide a classic feel to it, check out The Thing. For fans of the Carpenter re-make, keep an eye open at the end because there is a direct link to the original classic.