It's the first week of winter in 1982. An American Research Base is greeted by an alien force, that can assimilate anything it touches. It's up to the members to stay alive, and be sure of who is human, and who has become one of the Things.
During an archaeological expedition on Bouvetøya Island in Antarctica, a team of archaeologists and other scientists find themselves caught up in a battle between the two legends. Soon, the team realize that only one species can win.
Six months after the rage virus was inflicted on the population of Great Britain, the US Army helps to secure a small area of London for the survivors to repopulate and start again. But not everything goes to plan.
Paleontologist Kate Lloyd is invited by Dr. Sandor Halvorson to join his team who have found something extraordinary. Deep below the Arctic ice, they have found an alien spacecraft that has been there for perhaps 100,000 years. Not far from where the craft landed, they find the remains of the occupant. It's cut out of the ice and taken back to their camp but as the ice melts, the creature reanimates and not only begins to attack them but manages to infect them, with team members devolving into the alien creature. Written by
Pales in comparison to Carpenter's classic with nothing new or interesting to offer of its own.
It's hard for anything to compare to John Carpenter's The Thing. It's one of the greatest horror films ever made, some would argue *the* best. Thankfully, they didn't go the remake route here and instead opted for a prequel that depicted the events that happened in the Norwegian camp prior to the '82 version. In that regard, this movie does an impressive job at tying some knots like showing how the two-faced thing came to be, as well as the origin of the dog from the start of Carpenter's Thing. Sadly, that's where most of the praise ends.
The Thing suffers from what plagues many horror movies these days - underwritten characters and overwhelming CGI. One of the scariest things of Carpenter's version is the practical effects of the "thing". They were horrifying. Here, all subtlety is thrown out the window in favor of huge CGI monsters. It's effectively used in a couple scenes, but the monsters lose their scariness after a while and it just becomes gratuitous. The characters themselves are paper thin. What helped make the '82 version so fantastic is that we got to know the characters, their quirks, their personalities, and we were able to empathize with their situations. In this movie, half of the characters are interchangeable. I didn't even know most of their names. And worse yet, I didn't care about any of them. There's one particular scene that calls back to Carpenter's infamous blood test scene where I realized that most of these people are really dumb and I don't care if any of them die. That's not good in a horror movie. By that point it was just a waiting game for them to get picked off one by one.
The lead performances are strong. For the material they were given, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton do a fine job. But that simply isn't enough to carry a movie like this. The Thing is supposed to be scary, and for the most part, it isn't. That's a failure by horror standards. There's some face-value entertainment to be had here, but if you're looking for a substantial prequel to Carpenter's masterpiece, you'll be sorely disappointed.
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