By Sarah George
Hollywood has offered audiences yet another crappy, unnecessary “Halloween”-like prequel, this time with Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.’s “The Thing.”
“The Thing,” a prequel to John Carpenter’s (“The Fog,” “Halloween”) film of the same name from 1982, centers around a team of scientists in Antarctica.
During an archaeological dig, a team of Norwegian scientists happens upon a giant circular space craft and an unknown creature buried beneath the ice.
Dr. Sander Halvorson, played by Ulrich Tomsen (“Hitman”), head of the research team, brings in Kate Lloyd, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World), an American paleontologist, to help excavate and examine the creature.
After removing the block of ice encasing the creature, everything goes downhill. The creature escapes, the only way to defeat it is to burn it.
After taking a blood sample they learn that this spidery, squid-like creature ingests its victims and creates an exact copy of their DNA while digesting them.
This process allows the monster to hide inside a copy of the person to hunt for new prey, creating an atmosphere of distrust among the members of the crew. The rest of the movie revolves around the crew’s attempts to defeat the monster with flamethrowers.
The movie’s demise lies mainly in its editing. Each kill is quick, taking away from the scare factor and extra suspense that the film needed.
Loud volume and “Boo” scare tactics leave the audience uncomfortable rather than scared. Boredom ensues as the pace leaves the audience with no time to question who has become an alien, removing any psychological stimulation. “The Thing,” written by Eric Heisserer, also lacks the character development needed for a movie with a theme of trust, leaving the actors with little to work with.
An important characteristic of a scary movie, or any movie, is the ability of the filmmakers to draw the audience in through effects, acting and directing.
The idea is while the audience members realizes they’re watching a movie, part of them should believe it just might be real, which is what scares them.
On multiple occasions the characters go outside at night, in Antartica, missing a necessary item of clothing like a jacket, a pair of gloves or a hat. Either the scientists have an excellent tolerance to cold, or someone forgot to tell the actors to put their coats back on.
Not even CGI could save this movie. With so much technology available, you would think they would have done a better job. This is especially disappointing because of how much they chose to show the aliens.
The original film did a better job utilizing its special effects, and that was 19 years ago. It seemed to me that filmmakers just wanted to show the alien as much as they could for no particular reason.
As Alfred Hitchcock once said, “True horror is left up to the imagination to decide.” Unfortunately for the audience, the creators of this film were not able to grasp this concept. These mistakes seem to alienate the audience even more, rather than pulling them into the world of the film.
The one thing that I don’t want to happen is for my generation to associate this movie with the previous film from 1982. You do not have to see this film to understand the 1982 version. Just do yourself a favor and pretend like this movie never existed.
If John Carpenter were dead, he would be rolling in his grave. He’s not though, so I’m going to assume he’s just incredibly annoyed just like everyone else who sat through this movie.
Unless you like terrible horror movies, wasting money and flamethrowers, for the love of John Carpenter, do not go see this movie.
Save your money, run to the nearest computer and watch John Carpenter’s version on Netflix Instant; it’s truly one of the best horror films of all time, so you won’t regret it.
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