The Thing, featuring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton.

If you haven’t yet made it to theaters to see The Thing I recommend that you do. If you are a fan of the 1982 Kurt Russell film, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

There are certain films which lend themselves to re-interpretation. There are also those films which, although dated, simply cannot be improved. John Carpenter’s 1982 “The Thing” definitely falls into the latter category. Yes, that film shows its age at times with displays of outdated technology but as a work of sci-fi horror there is very little room for improvement. This is why I was initially skeptical about a reboot.

The new film gets off to a slow start but then shifts into high gear. Taut and suspenseful with excellent visual effects, this vision of The Thing is no-nonsense survival horror at its best.

Throughout the film there are some subtle differences from the 1982 film which I attributed to the re-imagining of the source material. The bloody horror takes place in the Norwegian camp rather than the American camp and of course that bit about Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Dr. Kate Lloyd being the main character rather than Kurt Russell’s RJ Macready.

Then a funny thing happened at the very end of the film. No wait, that’s confusing. I didn’t mean to say that the “thing” itself was funny, but rather an uncanny situation was depicted towards the end of the film. A familiar scene began to unfold as a man fired shots from helicopter while pursuing a dog running from a Norwegian Antarctic research station. As you probably know the vents which follow that chase scene make up the plot of 1982’s The Thing film.

A lot of care was taken to ensure that this final sequence would match the introduction to the earlier film all the way down to the markings on the helicopter and the beard of the Norwegian gunner. The only noticeable discrepancy seems to be his rifle.

Originally Published 23 October 2011

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