#19 – Countdown to Halloween: THE THING (2011)

Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.’s The Thing, which is a prequel to John Carpenter’s 1982 classic by the same name, is based on the short story ‘Who Goes There?“. That is the same story for which 1951’s The Thing from Another World is based. So you could say it’s a remake of the 1951 film, but the 50s crew changed so much it’s hardly connected anymore. Got all that? Alright, now that the lineage is determined, let’s move on the film itself.

The movie starts off with a group of Norwegians in Antarctica investigating what appears to be a distress signal when they fall through the ice to discover a massive spaceship.

For those familiar with the story this will come of no shock to you, except maybe to see the sheer size of it. It is this discovery, along with that of the ship pilot, also frozen in ice, that prompts them to call in an additional team of scientists. This team of course includes my girl Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

As you can probably guess, things go downhill for our Arctic residents soon after the ice starts to melt around our alien visitor and it wakes up. I give credit to our group of scientists though, as soon as it attacks someone they unite quickly. There is very little of your typical movie scientist nonsense like “oww – we can’t kill it! It’s too important to science!” – Nope. They get right to it and open fire on that space bitch.

I have to be honest, while I was excited for the release of the movie, I was doing my best to remain cautious and went in just hoping not to be disappointed. Well, not only was I not disappointed, but I loved. Is it as good as the ’82 movie? No. But how could it be? CG is a poor substitute for the actual models and prosthetics from the Carpenter film, and that one has become such as classic you had to simply hope this one would be able to hold its own. And it did.

This movie, much like the beloved 80s flick, is really more about identifying the creature then it is about killing it. Sure, it’ll be classified as a Sci-Fi/Horror film, but there are a lot of Mystery/Thriller aspects present as well, and they managed to avoid the ‘shaky camera’ shots and the ‘too close to actually see what’s happening’ move. Both of which have become staples over the last decade. This movie (intentionally so I assume) really felt a lot like Carpenter’s.

As far as the cast, outside of Mary, I thought that the very much underrated Eric Christian Olsen (Community, Beerfest) and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Oz) were both excellent. Their characters felt real and sincere to me and that’s something you can’t always say.

Overall I found it to be quite enjoyable. Good pacing, good suspense, and as an added bonus, fans of the series will want to watch the credits. I’d give it 3.5/5 and I’d  recommend a trip to the theater for it.

And for more Countdown to Halloween – Click Here

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