It’s not like the world was begging for a remake of the 1982 John Carpenter film, but in the world of sci-fi horror, it’s not a grave mistake to bring this pronoun of a story back.
The Thing (2011) is set in 1982. Confused yet? Graduate student Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is recruited by a Norwegian scientist for her necropsy skills to a base in the Antarctic. There she and a team of about a dozen recover an alien creature that’s been frozen in the ice. It comes back to life and possesses the power to morph into it’s victim to conceal it’s own identity. It’s a similar plotline to the 1982 version with some detail changes.
Note: The 1982 John Carpenter was a remake of a 1951 movie The Thing From Another World, which was also based on a short story.
There are a few fright factors that work in this movie. The toothy creature is quite gruesome and disgusting, but in a fun scary movie way. Since it also has the ability to hide itself within the group of survivors, paranoia drives the suspense.
One semi-intense moment involves a tooth check of the humans to determine if anyone has been body snatched. The imperfectness of the life and death test ratchets up the intensity mid way through and was enough to keep my interest going. There’s also a nice dark ending to look forward to.
Where The Thing doesn’t work, is how it all plays out. This is a run of the mill, scary things jump from the shadows movie. The little soldiers fall one by one, building up to a final showdown. The redeeming factor is that creepy aliens are sci-fi gold and it’s fun to watch these kind of scary movies.
Logically speaking, you could easily shred the movie. Why would the alien reveal itself one person at a time? Why would the alien have teeth like the Sarlacc Pit? Why does an Antarctic base have military grade flame throwers? That’s all beside the point.
This is more about a good run-for-your-life gore festival. So, was the remake necessary? No. Is it mindless escapism? Yes. More please.