Written by / 10/19/2011 / No comments / , ,

THE THING (2011)

title: THE THING
year: 2011
cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Ulrich Thomson
rating: *1/2

John Carpenter’s THE THING is remembered for being a violent science-fiction horror with tons of blood and guts – but what made it a classic is the eerily contained setting and the eclectic characters in an arctic compound trying to figure who's the formidable alien able to replicate into a human being. And the suspense plays out as each member, that we get to know from the inside-out (literally in some cases), fights to survive a desperately grim situation. Here there’s only a quick set-up: the discovery of a gigantic alien hangar beneath the ice by pretty scientist Kate Lloyd, called in to aid a group of researchers – a few Americans but mostly Norwegians – in dissecting the remains of the entombed terrestrial. There’s one human antagonist; Reid’s shady boss who wants to study "The Thing" at all costs, even after it leaps from its encasing and, in a few rushed scenes, enters the body of each member of the group. The only clever twist on the original is instead of checking the blood of each person to see if they’re human, our heroine (played by a dull Mary Elizabeth Winstead) checks the men’s teeth for fillings – turns out the alien can replicate DNA, but nothing man-made. And so, once the violent morphing begins it never ends, but non-stop action in this case means little as the rest of the (very short) film has gory special effects – people turning into beasts – and flamethrowers quickly stopping them. No characters really matter other than Reid and helicopter pilot Sam Carter (Joel Edgerton), a macho nod to Kurt Russell's "MaCready" but without the soul and intensity. And lacking an interesting cast, it simply doesn't matter who buys the farm or survives. All in all, this THING is like a video game using only those bombastic visual elements that'd make a brain-dead gamer feel entertained, but certainly not an audience who paid to see an actual story.
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