Archive: The Thing (2011) A Review

Horror Movie Remakes are rarely ever as good as their original counter parts.  And this one is no exception, trying to make up for it with gore and SFX.  Bring back Kurt Russel!

Certificate: 15

Director: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.

Screenwriter: Eric Heisserer, John W. Campbell Jr. (short story “Who Goes There?”)

Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Ulrich Thomsen

Genre: Horror, Sci Fi

Runtime: 103 Minutes

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

Palaeontologist Kate Lloyd is invited to join an Antarctic expedition when a craft is discovered under the ice that seems to have been lying there dormant for 100,000 years.  And a short distance from the craft is the apparent frozen life form that exited that craft upon it’s crash.  But when they excavate the being and it starts to defrost, it reanimates and begins to kill off members of the team, imitating them until it can kill of it’s next victim.  Trust becomes strained once the survivors become unsure who among them is really human.

I am a massive fan of the 80s original ‘The Thing’ and am also painfully aware that for the most part, remakes of horror films are never up to the standard of their original source material.  As is the case here.  It just never seems to capture the same sense of claustrophobic horror that the original did so well.  Many of the characters throughout the story just seem far too calm and while there is a lot of yelling and screaming, there is no overwhelming atmosphere of terror. 

Mary-Elizabeth Winstead plays Kate our lead character, and you can tell from the get go that they were trying to channel a little bit of Ellen Ripley in this, making the story come down to ‘strong woman fights alien scourge’, and while she does an alright job of it, it isn’t really the strong leading performance the film needed.  The surrounding characters have very little to do, mostly serving as cannon fodder, or in the case of Ulrich Thomsen’s Dr Halvorsen, a antagonist to Kates Protagonist, which the film really doesn’t need. 

Most of the ‘science’ thrown about in this film is plucked out of thin air, and just immediately taken as fact without any real investigation and all carried out incredibly quickly.  And I guess the ending is meant to be ambiguous, as they chase the dog across the tundra, but I think had they left the film at the point where Kate lights up the snow mobile, that would have been a much more satisfying ending.

And I guess the problem with remakes is that you already know the plot, you know what is happening, and unless the film makers decide to try and do something different than the original, which can be risky in itself, then nothing in a newer version is going to surprise you.  It’s still a very creepy prospect, and you are still kind of left on tender hooks, trying along with everyone else to see if you can figure out who has been replaced by ‘The Thing’, but if you have seen the first film, then there is nothing really new here.  They are just trying to modernise it by throwing in a whole lot of gore and some pretty average looking special effects to amplify the body horror.  Nothing really special, but the semi transformed creatures do look kind of cool I guess.

If you are a fan of the original maybe watch this for a laugh to compare the two, but there are vastly better horror films out there is that is what you are after to waste an afternoon.

The Thing (2011) is available to stream for free on Netflix UK now.

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