By Nick Rosa
With its intensity and great special effects, John Carpenter’s 1984 The Thing is one of my favorite horror films. The new The Thing has the intensity but lacks many of Carpenter’s horror visual, giving viewers an incomplete experience. Overall, The Thing is suspenseful but falls short of innovation.
This version is a prequel to Carpenter’s film, taking place right before the beginning of the original. The film begins with the initial finding of the alien space craft and that leads into finding The Thing frozen in the ice. Kate, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Live Free or Die Hard, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World), is a paleontologist called upon to study the creature. When removed for examining, the ice thaws at the research center and the Thing breaks loose, causing all hell to break loose.
Kate is chosen by Dr. Sander Halversen, portrayed by Ulrich Thomsen, and referred by Adam Goodman, played by Eric Christian Olsen, a close friend and assistant to Dr. Halversen, to head up this find. For those of you unaware of what The Thing is: it’s an alien species that imitates its prey by absorbing them. The alien cells replicate human cells to take form of whoever it attacks.
This is what the film has going with plenty of “gotcha” scenes making you jump and your heart drop. While paranoia sets in on the crew at the research station out in the middle of Antarctica with no help for miles, the dangerous puzzle game of knowing who is who begins to set in after the first victim.
The one thing that was disappointing was that it lacked character development compared to the original in 1984. We had no one really to attach to compared to Macready, Childs, and Windows from the original. You don’t see Goodman and Winstead’s characters relationship develop. All you see is Goodman’s character hide behind Winstead and Thomsen’s characters. However, Thomsen is played very well as the crazy doctor who is resilient in keeping the mission to themselves and no one else, no matter the cost.
The original had an amazing soundtrack and great effects. And I mean great effects. The CGI in this new prequel made the alien look like all other films these days. The alien was a different and effective monster for the film but nowhere compares to being as terrifying as the original, with its gooey and gory effects. In the 1984 version, we saw much less of the alien but that made it much more frightening than seeing the alien in CGI during every attack. Nonetheless, the score in this new one is just as good, even having some of the 1984 score within the film. Both films also have intense flame thrower scenes where everything is doused in flames, burning everything to a crisp.
The supply of non-stop entertainment within the film will keep you on the edge of your seat– no doubt about it. It’ll get you thinking about what is going to happen next and trying to predict who is actually infected. Long dark corridors of the space craft, the dark storage rooms within the facility, could be hiding The Thing, ready to pop out at any moment. Characters are consistently going off by themselves, giving us a harder way to judge, who is really “The Thing.”
The ending leads us into the original film, which I recommend seeing first before this new one. It’s not the original but it’s still a movie that will keep you guessing, jumping, and on the edge of your seat.