The Thing (2011)

Director:Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.
Starring:Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Ulrich Thomsen, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Eric Christian Olsen. USA/Canada. 1h 43m

From the first viewing of the thing I had a love and hate relationship with it, I was about 6 or 7 and it scared the crap outta me but I had to watch it, and i dealt with the sleepless nights and nightmares, but what always inreguided me was the events that happened prior to this cult classic in the Norwegian camp. But after all this hard work I think maybe it should have been left alone or given to someone with more dedication to the horror genre.

It could have gone either way there could have been an equally creepy body horror, on par with what changed the game in the early 80’s or someone could play by the rules and make a move fall into line with all the typical cliches that the Thing tried to break away from. but while the movie didn’t live up to my expectations it was made with all the best intentions.

This prequel tells the tragic pre story to John Carpenter’s class The Thing (1982), we finally find out what happened in the Norwegian camp in 1982 after they discover the thing from another world. After finding the craft and it’s pilot they employ the services of a charming American paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Winstead). They have barley introduced themselves and started their investigations into the creature before they drop tools and start to celebrate and the alien escapes and starts to slaughter the crew. I give the movie some credit, it doesn’t take too long before it gets into the action but sadly it’s layers and layers of stodgy CGI effects that pay little homage to the dedicated creature effects in the original, this really could have been a chance to highlight that this feature of horror is something really important. In all honestly some of the effects that were chosen really couldn’t have been done with practice effects but c’mon the only people who are really going to be interested in this movie are mostly fanatics of the previous.

The characters are a little flat, no one really stands out as a MacReady or Palmer, they are just bait and cannon fodder for the sake of the movie and generally a bloody mess within seconds. The dark tense atmosphere and booming soundtrack just aren’t there, all key features of our tried and tested favourite. Joel Edgerton shares the hero role with Winstead, who was supposed to be a Ripleyesque woman who takes charge of a crazy situation. But a cameo of some sort would have been the decent thing to do.. Right? Even when the shit was hitting the fan Carpenter managed to chuck in some (dark) humor from time to time that really added some spice to the film. What is impressive is that a lot of the scenes were allowed to be ad libbed and Heijningen did use some real Norwegians which is novel for something that’s supposed to break the box office in the USA, the language barrier isn’t really a factor apart from one loner who doesn’t speak any English but in this desperate situation you don’t need to be a genius to work shit out and he just gets on with being the brawn to Kates brain.

But what does the Thing (2011) bring to the party, for one it shows the inners of the spaceship and finally we get to see the creature in it’s “true” form, i.e we get to see it not imitating a human but it’s not the the rolling eyeball clawed hand creature that it sometimes was revealed as and to be honest it seems like a rabid animal storming around its own ship and getting outwitted by the simplest of tricks and that’s just not how I imagined the creature that had mastered space travel would act even when threatened. Apart from this creature feature it’s a well crafted horror but just nothing that stands out from the average crowd but with the high expectations what really would have wowed the audience?

Rating – 3/10

L – A few prequels to ponder, 11 horrors from 2011 worth talking about vol 1

5s – Joel Edgerton

 

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