Do you enjoy feel-good movies that leave you with a sense of warm, fuzzy gooeyness from you head down to your toes? You do?? Then definitely DO NOT go see the newly released The Thing. If, however, you enjoy movies full of shocking gore, edge of your seat suspense and a feeling of desperate hopelessness, you, my friend, are in luck.
Directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr., and written by Eric Heisserer and Ronald D. Moore, this month’s release of The Thing is not a re-make of the 1982 John Carpenter classic. Instead, it a prequel, telling the story of the doomed Thule Station, a Norwegian research station in the desolate frosts of Antarctica. Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton, 2011′s The Thing is set three days before the start of the original film. Telling the tale of a groundbreaking discovery of alien life gone horribly wrong, The Thing is a nerve wracking gorefest chock full of paranoia and trigger happy scientists wielding flamethrowers. FLAMETHROWERS!!!!
Why do these scientists have flamethrowers in Antarctica??
I’m not going to go into details and spoil the movie for those of you that haven’t seen it already, but I will point out a couple of highlights that I found impressive. First was continuity. If you’ve seen the original, you’ll notice that the 2011 team stayed true aspects of the original film, particularly scenes from ’82 when Kurt Russell‘s character, R.J. MacReady is investigating the charred remains of Thule Station. Equally successful was the prequels capturing the sense of abject horror and paranoia so prevalent in the original. Winstead’s character, Kate, channels her own inner Ellen Ripley, taking the role of heroine in the film, leaving Edgerton’s very Kurt-Russelish-looking Carter to play the supporting hero role. It’s good to see hot tough chicks taking it to face shredding aliens again!
My biggest, I won’t say disappointment but rather “meh” about the film, comes from the alien Thing itself. As is par for the course in plenty of movies now, the creature is done primarily with CG. It reminds me of the Necromorphs from the Dead Space video games, which makes it sufficiently creepy. We all know how horrible I am when it comes to finishing video games, but Dead Space was successful in freaking me out enough to not be able to play too long without losing sleep. It was probably the whole play-at-night-with-all-the-lights-off-and-with-headphones-so-I’m-totally-immersed approach.
Anyway, for my money nothing beats practical special effects, especially for graphically horrific dog-melting, double amputation and disembodied heads running around on spider-legs…. Speaking of which, I’m off to watch the original on Blu-ray right now. Sleep tight boys and girls!