The Thing (2011) is a completely unexpected, almost unwarranted prequel to the amazing 1982 film of the exact same name. As confusing as it is and as misrepresented as it was, this is a true prequel leading straight into the beginning of the original. Does it live up to the name of the original, or should someone take a flamethrower to it?
Almost 20 years after the original, and almost out of nowhere came The Thing. Little was known about it for the longest time, with people claiming it was a remake, a sequel, and a spin off. I think prequel was the right choice for it. Even though it retreads a lot of ground established in the original, it’s still essential to the story. The prequel focuses on the Norwegian base seen in the original, and how it ended up the way it did.
And it does it beautifully. The story is really well written, well thought out, and well planned. There’s plenty of twists and turns in the story, and really holds up to the standards set by the first film. There’s a palpable sense of tension between the group once things get in full swing. No one can be trusted, and it comes through with a real sense of tension on the screen. And the cast really brings the script to life. Mary Elizebeth Winstead really carries the weight of a leading lady well, and puts out a great performance. Everyone else plays the role of “confined, scared of being eaten by a giant mutating alien, and paranoid” scientists and staff with heart. They make it believable, and that’s the most important thing.
One thing that makes the original such a memorable film is the effect work. Since it was in the early 80’s, they had to use puppetry, makeup, and practical special effects to get what they wanted on screen. And did they ever make it work. To this day, a lot of the effects hold up quite well. Now in this day and age, its commonplace to replace all of that with CGI. That was one of my main concerns. That they were going to CGI this to hell, and make it completely unwatchable. But, the effects team did a great job. The Things look genuinely scary as hell. They really take the inspiration from the first film, and take just it a step further. They still use a fair amount of practical effects much to my delight, and it meshes well with the CGI.
All in all, the film is a blast. Was it needed? No. Was it really wanted? Not really. I could think of a handful of old horror movies I’d rather see a sequel/prequel to. But is it good? Definitely. The story is good, the acting is good, the effects are good, the score is amazing and creepy. And it sets up everything perfectly for the scenes seen in the first film. I don’t want to say its a perfect prequel, but i can’t really find anything wrong with it. It’s one of the best films to come out this month, and is a really must see for any horror fan.
I give it a 4.5 out of 5. Must see for any horror fan.
Review by joedissolvo