The Thing (2011)
Dir. Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.
IMDb 6.2/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 35%
Before seeing this movie I recommend you watch John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982). Heijningen Jr’s The Thing pays homage to Carpenters’ and the last scene after the movie is gratifying for the fans of the former.
In 1982 a group of Norwegian scientists uncover a frozen alien and its spaceship buried deep underground in Antarctica. They recruit an American team to examine the body. Amidst their celebration of their thrilling discovery, the ice unthaws and the thing burst free from confinement. The scientist than find the thing and a contaminated crew member, and then engulf both of them in flames. Which leads to an even bigger find: The thing’s cells were still alive; consuming and imitating their deceased’s crewman’s cells. The Thing proceeds to using the crew members as a host in order to remain alive. A mystery evolves within the camp: not knowing who is themselves, and the language barrier between the crew brings everyone to a frantic state of mind.
From the producers of 2004’s Dawn of The Dead; Abraham & Newman had an interesting vision of telling a prequel to Carpenters The Thing. “We realized there was a new story to tell, with the same characters and the same world, but from a very different point of view…” I believe this movie was a good prequel (remake) in comparison to many other failures of the horror genre. This movie was able to create the same world as the former movie, but it lacked the menacing atmosphere. This movie relied more so on jump scares rather than chilling suspense of not knowing who is contaminated.
The main character of this movie is Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). She is a smart American Paleontologist and gave a performance I was not expecting. My expectation for her character was to play the role of the victim throughout the entire movie, but she was brave in her efforts to remain alive. The other characters play their part as the crew subject to the Thing’s conquest. A special mention to Lars (Jørgen Langhelle) his character was awesome with the flame thrower.
There are 4 main flaws. The thing is shown way too much in this film. The films prime objective seemed to be focused on scaring the viewer with its good CGI (Computer-generated imagery) but it wasn’t authentic. In the 1982 version they used practical effects for the thing. Looking at the deformed parts of the body and the way it oozed was disgusting & cringe worthy. Secondly the situations they encounter and solutions are similar to the original so you feel as if it’s a partial remake as well as prequel. Thirdly there was no Kurt Russell. He played the lead role in the 1982 as MacReady. He is the definition of a badass, with his perfect beard, and a beat up sombrero. He held it down in that movie to which nobody is quite able to attain in this prequel. Lastly, this one is more so a personal but the film does not have the frightening “bum bum” score. It does make sense that they would choose to not use it in all the key moments as Carpenter did to great effect, but it may have been a better choice to keep with it.
This movie is able to stand on it’s on through impressive CGI work for the thing, decent cast, and great setting. I would say it’s worth buying, I see it at stores all the time for under $10. It’s not the most memorable movie but is worth your time. However if you really want to make your time and money spent well, watch the “masterpiece” which is John Carpenter’s The Thing and keep an eye out for the blood test scene.
Rating: ★★ / ★★★★★
“The more you see of a monster, the less you get. It is the unseen, the imagined, that scares you. This version of “The Thing,” directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr., provides such graphic and detailed views of the creature that we are essentially reduced to looking at special effects, and being aware that we are. Think how little you ever really saw in the first “Alien” movie, and how frightening it was.” – Roger Ebert