The Thing, a prequel to John Carpenters The Thing (1982), is in all fairness a pretty good Sci-Fi Horror. It works well as a stand alone film, and although it pales in comparison to John Carpenters cult classic still manages to reproduce the tense, chilling atmosphere of the original with a few added scares.
Set in Antarctica, a group of Norwegian research scientists discover an alien life-form buried under the ice. Together with Palaeontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) the scientists excavate and return the creäture to the research base ready for testing. But the ‘Thing’, assumed dead, comes to life; inhabiting human bodies in a bid to escape and secure its own survival.
The reason The Thing works better as a stand alone film and not a prequel is that it adds nothing to John Carpenters remake. Prequels, sequels and remakes should add something to the original and answer previously unanswered questions otherwise what’s the point. But aside from linking the two films together, with dead bodies found at the Norwegian research base, and obvious props, The Thing simply overlooks old questions and raises new ones.
The story unfolds pretty much the same as John Carpenters The Thing. So for anyone who’s seen that, there is little to no shock value. But for those who haven’t it does have some surprising, and jumpy moments.
The CGI and special effects are impressive. And while it retains the look and feel of John Carpenters The Thing, the advancement in Special FX means the shape shifting alien and human imitations are more convincing compared to Rob Bottins visionary effects, which, although incredible, haven’t aged well.
Though it was well acted there were no exceptional performances or noteworthy characters. But then none of the roles were exactly demanding or particularly interesting, and in fact most of them were plain forgettable which means you don’t care when characters die. However Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton are both rising talents; Edgerton especially, with an already impressive acting résumé that includes Animal Kingdom, Ned Kelly and Warrior, with roles in The Great Gatsby and The odd life of Timothy Green in the works. These are two names to look out for in the future.
It’s an average Sci-Fi horror film, but one of the best in recent years. And if you’re a fan of the genre then you’ll no doubt enjoy this. There’s no need to have seen John Carpenters The Thing before watching this, and in fact you’ll probably enjoy it more if you haven’t because there will be nothing to compare it to. But you should watch both at least once in your lifetime. I will recommend anyone who’s thinking of vacationing in Antarctica to go before viewing either of these films because they will most likely put you off going there.
Rating: 3 out of 5