The Thing (2011)

Lawrence Foster

Rating 6.5 out of 10

I have to start this review in a very embarrassing way: I didn’t watched John Carpenter’s The Thing until after watching the prequel of the same name.

I am ashamed.

That being said, I am kind of glad that I watched it that way because I wasn’t as disappointed with the 2011 version as many people who had watched and loved the 1982 version first were.

The main problem with the prequel is that it has to live up to the ridiculously high standard that Carpenter’s masterpiece set back in 1982 and that isn’t fair to do to any movie. As a standalone film, The Thing prequel (TTP) is an enjoyable movie that doesn’t redefine the creature-horror genre, but is fun nonetheless.

When compared to it’s big brother, however, is when all of the blemishes come to the forefront.

TTP is about a group of scientists who stumble upon an alien spacecraft and its (presumably) lone passenger on Antarctica. Once the discovery is made, main protagonist and expert paleontologist Kate Lloyd  (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is brought to the site due to her expertise in removing things from the ice.

Once the alien life form is removed from what appears to be its icy grave and a tissue sample is extracted, all hell breaks loose.

For someone who hadn’t watched the original, the first glimpse of the thing and what it does was shocking. I don’t want to spoil what its “power” is to anyone who is like me and doesn’t know heading in, but it is gnarly.

I will warn everyone that if gore and blood aren’t your thing, steer clear of TTP because the guts are rampant, which leads me to one of my problems with the film. I am writing this review after I watched the original and I have to say that the CGI for TTP can’t hold a candle to what was done with the 1982 version. I thought the CGI was too over the top when I watched it and after watching the effects from Carpenter’s version, I realized the 1982 edition of The Thing was the best. If you haven’t watched The Thing in a while, go back and watch it and you’ll be surprised to find that the effects hold up remarkably well nearly 30 years later.

The acting also leaves a lot to be desired. In a creature-horror flick, acting is key. Specifically the reactions to the beast and the acting in TTP just didn’t do a good enough job of portraying the horror on screen. For a film that features an alien life that does a pretty remarkable, yet grotesque thing, it would be easy to think the actors just smelled a particularly strong athletic jock strap. With more realistic facial expressions and reactions to what is happening, TTP could have been a better movie.

All in all, TTP is a decent movie. If creature-horror films are your cup of tea, you will be pleased with the film. For horror fanatics, TTP offers a few legit scares, but little else. The average filmgoer won’t miss out by not catching TTP.

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