Review: The Thing (15) / Directed by: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. / Written by: Eric Heisserer / Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Ulrich Thomsen, Eric Christian Olsen, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje / Released: December 2nd
I’m going to start off by saying that I consider John Carpenter’s 1982 classic to be one of the greatest horror movies ever made, and as a result, had mixed feelings when I heard about this project. On one hand, I was excited by the concept of seeing what happened in the Norwegian camp prior to the original film, but I was also worried that they were going to make a complete mess of it.
The film starts off with a Norwegian research team coming across a signal from under the ice, that leads them to an alien spacecraft, buried for over a hundred thousand years. Soon, a team of scientists is dispatched to the site, including an American palaeontologist, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, where they exhume the frozen body of the spacecraft’s occupant with a view to dissecting it in the name of science.
At which point, things start to go a bit wrong. Well, if they didn’t it wouldn’t be much of a horror movie, would it? The creature escapes from its icy prison and goes about absorbing various cast members and replicating them in a bid to escape to the wider world.
I have to say that most of my concerns were put to rest. The movie does a decent job at building tension and the special effects are suitably gross, if a little bit too CGI looking at times. The plot moves along at a decent pace, even if there are parts in the middle of the film where it strays dangerously close to “remake” instead of prequel. I suppose there are only so many things you can do with a shape shifting carnivorous alien loose in an Antarctic research station.
I had a few niggles, if I’m honest. As I said, I think that more physical effects would have worked better than the CGI, and as well as the repeated story beats there are a couple of instances where the actions of the alien made no sense, such as attacking in a helicopter while in mid air, or putting the earring of an absorbed human back in the wrong ear.
Those matters aside, this delivered everything I was hoping for in this prequel. It ties back to the 1982 film in a satisfying manner, the acting is generally of a good standard, and it’s an entertaining and gross way to spend an hour and forty minutes.
It’s not as good as John Carpenter’s movie, but it doesn’t do a disservice to it either, and I don’t think that fans will be disappointed.
Expected rating: 6 out of 10