Scary kind of thing
HERE’S the thing with The Thing.
On paper, it is a prequel. In reality, it is a remake.
All roads lead back to director John Carpenter’s 1982 cult chiller of the same name ( which in turn updated 1951’ s The Thing From Another World).
The all-new The Thing takes place in the week leading up to the events chronicled in Carpenter’s version.
If you have never seen it, that film was mostly Kurt Russell locked in battle with a frightening creature of undetermined origin at a remote American base station in the Antarctic.
This film merely makes do with a minor change of address. The grisly action now takes place at a nearby, Norwegian-run scientific outpost. Nevertheless, it will still be Americans leading the charge against the unpredictable and unsightly menace.
Stepping into the famously blood-spattered snowshoes of Kurt Russell here are the well-cast duo of Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton.
Winstead plays Kate Lloyd, a pretty paleontologist rushed from California to the South Pole to investigate a spectacular ancient specimen preserved in pristine form by thousands of years of ice.
Edgerton ( in a breakthrough role for the well-regarded Australian actor) plays Braxton Carter, a veteran chopper pilot who has transported Kate and her team to the site of the find.
Without going into too much detail – The Thing works best when permitted to spring the element of surprise at just the right/ wrong time – Kate and Braxton are destined to feature prominently once a certain something thought to be long dead turns out to be very much alive.
What follows is a solid entry into the annals of the creature-feature genre. The gruesome being from parts unknown has a macabre chameleonic streak in its biological make-up that allows it to take over any human body as a host.
This ‘‘ thing’’ could be anyone, at any time.
First-time filmmaker Matthijs van Heijningen only has two basic jobs to do here, but performs both quite effectively.
The cast must be continually culled from the bottom up without boring the viewer. Dread levels must be continually increased without resorting to the same old tricks over and over again.
Only the hardest-to-please of horror fans will feel that van Heijningen has missed the mark here. Aside from the fine anchoring work taken on by Winstead and Edgerton, the standout aspect of The Thing is its wide array of forcefully frightening special-effects.
Where the Carpenter version held back on allowing the audience many clear sightings of the alien menace, this new take foregoes any fancily implied mind games for a direct, all-out assault on the senses.
Now showing Village Cinemas