ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

"The Thing" Provides Good Horror But Doesn't Measure Up

Updated on October 27, 2012

In the never-ending unnecessary Hollywood rehashes of 80s horror films, “The Thing” gets a pass for at least billing itself as a prequel to John Carpenter’s 1982 classic. For those unfamiliar with that film, this latest incarnation of an alien being terrorizing scientists in Antarctica can be its own stand-alone horror film for modern audiences. Taking place place directly prior to the events portrayed in the 1982 version, “The Thing” finds Norwegian and American scientists stumbling upon a creature not of this world.

Taking place in 1982, three Norwegian scientists in a Snowcat vehicle become trapped in a glacial crack which leads down into the crash site of a large foreign ship. Barely surviving, they alert their outpost and come across the supposed surviver of the crash frozen in a block of ice. Back in America, Dr. Sander Halverson (Ulrich Thomsen) and his assistant Adam (Eric Christian Olsen) recruit paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) to accompany them to the site to investigate. Estimating the creature to be trapped in ice for one hundred thousand years, they transport the block of ice back to their camp and believe they may have encountered the first-ever extraterrestrial being on Earth. Unfortunately, the creature was not entirely dead and escapes the block after several hours of gradual melting. While trying to escape, the creature attacks and consumes Henrik (Jo Adrian Haavind) while hiding under a building. The team traps the creature and burn it alive. During the autopsy, the scientists learn that the creature can replicate another living being’s cells and thus imitate its form, disguising itself as a human and thus attack unsuspecting victims.

What follows is a “who is human and who is not?” series of guessing games amongst the rest of them. In this cramped environment, tensions rise as everyone soon starts turning on one another, losing all trust in order to make it out alive. Unfortunately, here is when the film begins to do its own replication of Carpenter’s film. The themes of isolation and suspicion of others is repeated in the prequel but still holds its own ground as a horror movie. In an attempt not to compete with Kurt Russell’s stand-out performance in the original, Dutch director Matthijs van Heijningen cast a young female lead and crafted the character after Ellen Ripley from the “Alien” franchise. Winstead does hold her own as one of the few English-speaking characters and proves to be a worthy adversary against the creature.

The one issue I was sort of disappointed with was a little over-use of CGI effects in this film. The make-up and special effects in Carpenter’s film was produced without the aid of a computer and to this day still hold up very well. Mentored by special effects legend Rick Baker, Rob Bottin created some of the most horrifying and cringe-inducing monster effects seen on screen in Carpenter’s film:

(Caution: the following clip is violent and may induce nightmares!)

In the prequel, much of those grotesque scenes are digitized and do not seem as authentic. As someone who appreciates make-up effects in horror films, CGI tends to take away some of the magic. Yet, that doesn’t mean it fails to scare audiences. Director Heijningen and his special effects team are able to create many scares within a terrifying atmosphere. Unfortunately, the third act of the film tends to fall apart and becomes its own victim of clichéd conclusions. However, it isn’t until the end credits start rolling that it becomes to have that John Carpenter vibe as it sets up the events of the 1982 film.

For fans of Carpenter’s masterpiece, you may want to sit this one out. Frankly, there isn’t too much revealed that you couldn’t have already assumed in your head as to the origin of the creature. However, as a stand-alone film this one of the slightly better incarnations of 80s horror. If you have not seen Carpenter’s film but interested in checking out the prequel, I suggest you go ahead and see it. It’s a good scare. But if you do, at least check out the original at some point. It is one of the few pre-CGI films that is both genuinely scary and suspenseful.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • gryphin423 profile image

      gryphin423 

      6 years ago from Florida

      Okay, you convinced me. We'll go see it. Even from the trailer I thought it was a remake, I am glad to hear it is a prequel. I loved the Kurt Russell movie. Thanks for the review!

    • profile image

      THING 

      6 years ago

      GOOD MOVIE, BUT I RECOMMEND TO SEE THE 1982 VERSION FIRST IN BLUERAY, AND THEN FOLLOW THE TRAMA OF THE NEW ONE.

    • Cogerson profile image

      UltimateMovieRankings 

      6 years ago from Virginia

      Nice review....I think after reading your review...and the fact that I am a fan of the Kurt Russell/John Carpenter version...I will sit this one out until it comes out on DVD. I have already attached your review to my hub...called Top Films of 2011...hope it brings you some traffic. Voted up and useful.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)