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Review: THE THING (2011)

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THE THING (2011)

At an isolated research outpost in Antarctica, a scientific discovery full of possibility becomes a mission of survival when an alien is unearthed by a crew of international scientists. When a simple experiment frees it from its frozen prison, the shape-shifting creature has the ability to turn itself into a perfect replica of any living being and the lead Paleontologist and her pilot must keep the “the thing” from killing them off one at a time.

HOW DARE YOU?!!

Do you remake Citizen Kane? Do you reimagine Star Wars? (okay if you’re George Lucas, I guess my rant means nothing to you) So how can anyone remake, reboot, reimagine John Carpenter‘s iconic sci-fi/thriller, THE THING?! It’s sacrilegious, no?

Enter producers, Marc AbrahamEric Newman and writer Eric Heisserer, who wanted to stay true to the essence of Carpenter’s masterpiece and hired accordingly, first time director Matthijs van Heijningen.

Primarily renowned as an award-winning commercial director, Heijningen had two criteria before he accepted the job:

1).  Hire Norwegian actors, and
2).  Utilize practical effects.That alone shows you what kind of movie the filmmakers wanted to bring to the screen and how much they respected the original film’s feel.

Here’s a quick outline of the film’s plot:

Taking place three days before the events of The John Carpenter film, paleontologist, Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is recruited by scientist, Sander Halversen (Ulrich Thompson) and his assistant Adam Goodman (Eric Christian Olsen) to join a Norwegian scientific team that has stumbled across a crashed extraterrestrial spaceship buried beneath the ice of Antarctica. They discover a frozen corpse of a creature that has seem to have died in a crash eons ago.

After recovering the creature in a frozen block of ice, they transport it back to their base and conduct an experiment that frees the alien from its frozen prison. Kate joins the crew’s pilot (Joel Edgerton) to keep it from killing and imitating them one at a time, using its uncanny ability to mimic any life form it absorbs through digestion, and potentially reaching civilization.

So that is pretty much it in a snowball.

What I LOVED about this prequel is that it pays homage to the vision that John Carpenter had back in 1982 while not bastardizing the original – so often the case in today’s reboots. Director, Heijningen said that remaking Carpenter’s version would be like drawing a mustache on the MONA LISA. Heijningen creates a visual time capsule that transports the moviegoer back to ’82 …from the painstaking reproduction of the Norwegian “Station 31” set piece to using practical creature effects that would make original film’s special effects legend, Rob Bottin beam with pride. Heijningen’s direction is fast paced and energetic. His slow burn storytelling is king here. Building the tension without losing momentum. (Heijningen has said that he would love to take a swing at another Universal property “An American Werewolf in London,” after this outing… he could totally do it justice.)

Joel Edgerton has been having a great time as of late with WARRIOR and now THE THING. Edgerton brings a familiar gruffness that may remind purists of Kurt Russell‘s “MacReady” in the original but Edgerton convincingly owns his role as “Braxton Carter” without aping Russell’s legendary hero.

The star in this prequel IS Mary Elizabeth Winstead. While easily compared to Sigourney Weaver‘s “Ripley” in the ALIEN franchise, Winstead brings about a conviction and believability to the role of Kate Lloyd, that Ripley would be honored to kick some alien tail with. Winstead, once crowned a scream-queen can now take on the mantle of “Queen of Badassery”!

This film is a fun popcorn flick, filled with good old-fashioned scares that is reminiscent of a simpler time when films were meant to fill you with terror and horror and not numbingly shock you with buckets of puss and blood.

This film is not your Daddy’s THE THING …it’s this generation’s THE THING! Welcome it! Embrace it! Heck, let it take over your body and happily do the crab walk across the cineplex floor!

THE THING opens Friday, October 14

’til next time Cabrones!

 

THE THING (2011) - One Sheet

Gary Deocampo
Gary "El Boy" Deocampo covers the horror film festival, horror convention, and comic-con circuits for LATIN HORROR, providing insightful profiles & reviews with his own original tongue-in-cheek, macabre, fan-boy style. Gary is a frequent guest on the pop culture pod cast Fanboy Confidential, is part of the writing staff of Del Toro Films, and writes for his own horror blog, DARK RECESS.

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