Review: The Thing (2011)
The 1982 Thing by John Carpenter was beloved by many even though it did poorly in theaters. This film serves as a prequel to Carpenter's film, even though it pulls off most of the same scares. The plot is simple, and about what you would expect from a film like this if you have read the original source content, the short story called Who's There? by John W. Campbell Jr. The film follows Kate Lloyd, a paleontologist, is recruited by by scientists Sander Halversen and his assistant Adam Goodman to join a Norwegian scientific team that has found a crashed spaceship that has been buried deep under the ice in Antarctica for thousands of years. It is a similar plot to the Carpenter film and even before that the other film that was spawn by the short story by Campbell but this film still manages to keep you interested despite some silly special effects and sometimes bland acting.
Kate Lloyd remains throughout the film as the voice of reason and bumps heads early with her superior in Dr. Sander Halversen. Sander frequently thinks only about the amount of money that he could make seeing how he has discovered an alien life form. This most notably comes into play when he wants to take a tissue sample of the alien life form that is frozen in a block of ice. Kate doesn't think it is a smart idea as it can break the ice allowing the alien to be free. Sander orders the sample to be taken, and guess what happens to the alien.
When the alien does indeed escape, Kate is the first one to realize that the alien is able to mimic any life form but cannot replicate inorganic materials which becomes a key plot point later in the film. Kate also explains to the group that it is up to them to not allow the alien to escape the frozen venue of Antarctica because if it does it would destroy mankind very quickly.
The special effects of the monster often came off comical, and takes you out of the film because of how ridiculous the monster looked. At times the monster looked like a monster straight from the Resident Evil video game series and then other times it looked like a giant blob with tentacles. It never manages to make you belief it was even possibly real, which completely takes the viewer out of the experience and often makes the entire experience a bit laughable.
Most of the story beats are similar to Carpenter's film and at some points especially later in the film, it feels like a straight remake of the film. It starts off fairly different but midway through the film it feels all to familiar and can lead to some people being completely uninterested. The film obviously relies on the scares to come more from the paranoia of the characters being unsure on who is the monster and the most keen of viewers often can tell who is human and who isn't human.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead does a decent job as the lead protagonist in Kate Lloyd as the filmmakers really wanted her character not to clash with what Kurt Russell did as R.J MacCready. Instead, they attempted to make her character more in the vein of Ellen Ripley of the Alien series, it didn't work out that way for them however. Winstead over her career has shined in more light-hearted films such as Scott Pilgrim and Death Race, while in this film during the most intense scenes her performance lacked.
Joel Edgerton serves in a way as this film's R.J MacReady even if it wasn't on purpose. Edgerton plays Sam Carter an American pilot and Vietnam War veteran who is there running a supply operation to the bases with his friends Derek and Griggs. Edgerton doesn't do anything to be memorable in his role but he also doesn't do anything to make his character completely uninteresting. He manages to have decent on screen chemistry with his counterpart Mary Elizabeth Winstead. His friend in the film Derek, also manages to be a bit like Childs who was played by Keith David in the John Carpenter film. Again, it is not known if this is what the filmmakers intended, but their characters played much to the same tone of MacReady and Childs.
While the film doesn't do anything to separate itself or be memorable by any stretch of the imagination, it does serve a purpose as a decent horror film to see over a Halloween weekend. It suffers due to the acting and in this kind of film, acting is key. The acting needs to be on point due to the paranoia that each character is suffering from as they are unsure who among them is indeed the monster. Viewers will also be thrown off by the fact that this film is in fact a prequel, and yet doesn't differ itself from the 1982 film. Due to how weak the horror film schedule is this year, this film should manage to bring in a decent amount of viewers as it still is a decent film despite the flaws.