Scary kind of thing

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Eguide Movies -

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.

LEIGH PAATSCH

Now show­ing Vil­lage Cine­mas

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