Published Oct 13, 2011After many years of waiting for a sequel to John Carpenter's cult classic The Thing (itself a take on The Thing From Another World), devoted fans of the film have accepted the fact that they'll have to settle for a mainstream prequel that's yet another mediocre horror remake in disguise.
In 1982, a Norwegian scientist (Ulrich Thomsen) recruits Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a young palaeontologist, to join a group of fellow scientists in examining an unidentified vessel and specimen at an isolated workstation in Antarctica. After the team discovers the specimen isn't of this world, all hell breaks loose when "the thing" escapes and begins to replicate the research crew, leading to some gruesome discoveries, irresponsible use of flame throwers and bouts of extreme déjà vu.
Unlike the 1982 film, this year's The Thing doesn't waste any time on character or plot development, with viewers quickly introduced to the horror early on, watching Kate pull double duty as Ms. Exposition and the final girl. While it's very amusing to watch a Yonic-inspired alien prey on the men who didn't believe Kate's warnings and theories, The Thing is nothing more than slightly entertaining popcorn fare.
Besides a few obvious references to its predecessor (mainly from the score and the closing credits), only fans of the original will in fact know this is a prequel and how the film will end, whereas other filmgoers will be jumping from the cheap "boo!" scares and wondering who the sole survivor will be.
The Thing manages to bring some interesting set pieces and one of these scenes is a reinvention of the classic "blood-burning test," involving the characters checking each other's mouths for fillings (as "the Thing" can't replicate inanimate objects on or inside a person). While this could have been terrifying, it sadly falls short of any hopeful horror fan's expectations and ends on a funny note, which is something the director most likely didn't intend.
Despite the fact The Thing is supposed to be a prequel, it feels eerily like a sequel to The Faculty or Deep Rising. The actors all give solid performances and the Brian Yuzna-like CGI creature designs are surprisingly tolerable as well. However, this "pre-make" won't stand the test of time like its superior predecessor has. (Universal)