WARNING! THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MY THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING AND ELEMENTS THAT FORESHADOW EVENTS IN JOHN CARPENTER'S THE THING! I DON’T SPOIL ANY PLOT POINTS, BUT IF YOU FIND EVEN SAYING “THIS MOVIE HAS A (DEPRESSING/HOPEFUL/CONFUSING) ENDING” SPOILS THE MOVIE FOR YOU, DO NOT READ THIS!
It could be that the premise of The Thing is just so intriguing that I can’t help but like it. After all, most reviews have been poor. The idea that there is an alien that can impersonate a human being and make it nigh impossible to tell friend from foe is not only creepy but it’s the kind of paranoia-inducing plot that makes movies like The Truman Show* and Invasion of the Body Snatchers so interesting.
Like Let Me In, The Thing is a period movie set in the early 80’s that really doesn’t feel shoehorned into the era like so many other period pieces. Paleontologist Kate Lloyd is recruited by Norwegians to consult on an amazing discovery. She is flown to the Arctic where she meets up with the Norwegian team and the few Americans at the Arctic base. From there, horror ensues.
The Thing’s creepy premise makes this film’s chases and scares all the more tense and effective. I haven’t felt this scared at a horror movie in a few years. And even understanding that this is a prequel and everything that happens is a foregone conclusion, I found myself hoping for things to happen that wouldn’t happen, and praying for things not to happen which most certainly were going to happen.
Taken as a prequel, it sets up John Carpenter’s The Thing perfectly. Taken as a movie with its own merits, it ends with a brilliant bit of uncertainty that makes me wonder what would happen next.
There were some moments that didn’t feel right (one character’s wrap-up just makes no sense to me), but otherwise, I liked The Thing very much and I recommend it to horror fans who don’t have a knee-jerk gag reaction to watching remakes/prequels/sequels/etc.
*Just you try and tell me that you didn’t have a little moment when you wondered if that could be happening to you… just imagine… WAY more people would have seen your drunken karaoke rendition of Sitting on the Dock of the Bay than you originally thought!