The ThingFeature Film |
A frigid and effective prequel.
Few horror films are as highly regarded as John Carpenter's chilling and claustrophobic 1982 masterpiece, The Thing. This makes creating a prequel—decades later, no less—essentially a fool's errand, but it's one that first-time feature director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. gamely takes on. Revealing what happened to a Norwegian-led team before the events in Carpenter's movie, this film finds American paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) joining the expedition, which arrives in Antarctica to uncover both a creature and a structure encased in ice. Before long, the vicious thawed being is on the loose, morphing into grotesque biological forms while picking off bearded Scandinavians. Joel Edgerton and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje provide some muscle as American pilots stuck with the research team, but Winstead proves to be the take-charge one, admirably channeling Alien's Ellen Ripley without resorting to over-the-top action clichés. While the thing of Carpenter's Thing had a thoroughly creepy and unsettling presence, this incarnation manages to be more imposing and lumbering. Although the movie suffers somewhat from a lackluster third act where the budget for convincing special effects seems to have run out, The Thing still stands as an exceedingly good horror film, albeit one that doesn't challenge the supremacy of its time-honored predecessor.