In Antarctica, no-one can hear you scream.
Set in 1982, The Thing tells the story of a group of scientists who discover an alien space craft embedded deep in the Antarctic ice.
This prequel of the 1982 John Carpenter film has had to fight off accusations of being a remake rather than a brand new film. As someone who hasn’t seen the original, however, I’m glad to say that The Thing works as a separate, stand alone piece, and seeing the original is not necessary.
To start with the positives; I was very pleased to see a strong, female protagonist. Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays Dr Kate Lloyd, a rather intelligent palaeontologist who also knows how to kick some extra-terrestrial butt. Some people might recognize Winstead from an earlier role in Sky High in which she plays a “Disney, All-American” kind of girl; she couldn’t be more different than Dr Kate Lloyd.
The remainder of the cast are not particularly well known as the majority are Norwegian actors; this adds a touch of authenticity considering the film’s setting and location. It’s hard to single out individual performances because I went into this film expecting everyone but the protagonist to die off at some point. This tends to be a running theme in sci-fi horror films; 90% of characters are going to be alien fodder.
As far as frights go, The Thing does have a fair share of freaky moments. I found myself jolting in my seat, and recoiling slightly several times during the film. However, it was more unnerving than frightening, and I don’t think that any of the scenes are going to linger in my mind or haunt me in my dreams.
One of my main gripes is the use of CGI, or rather the poor use of CGI. In a sci-fi film it’s a crucial element, and I felt that it really let The Thing down. Some of the creatures looked incredibly fake; almost laughably so. It took me right out of the film and this happened quite a few times.
The acting is fine, but there are quite a lot of reaction shots, and these become tedious quickly.
As the owner of a Cineworld Unlimited card it cost me nothing to see this, and that’s probably just as well. Was it a good way to spend a rainy Friday afternoon with a friend? Sure.
But would I have been happy paying £7.50 for a ticket? I think not.
Fans of the Alien franchise might want to give this a go, but they should do so with low expectations. I warn you now it’s a diluted version in every way.