The Thing DVD Review

In the icy wastes of Antarctica something wicked this way comes.

Director Matthijs van Heijningen’s incarnation of The Thing is both prequel and homage to John Carpenter’s classic horror of the same name from 1982.

The film opens with scientists driving across the snow to answer a mysterious signal. Their discovery leads these men of science to seek out help from a pretty palaeontologist by the name of Kate Lloyd.

Lloyd helps to identify a weird looking organism incarcerated in a giant rectangular ice cube, but is none too happy when the boffins she’s working for poke and prod excitedly at their extraterrestrial capture.

Whilst the scientists have an impromptu party to celebrate their new discovery, the menacing monster quietly thaws out unattended.

It’s not long before this is on the loose, which is bad news for anything of this earth as this particular alien organism has the ability to infect and imitate anything it touches.

Once the monster starts to infect the humans no one will be able to tell who’s infected and who isn’t, so young Lloyd’s only hope of survival is to team up with the research expedition’s pilot and Kurt Russell-alike, Sam Carter, and try to escape The Thing.

Inspired by John Carpenter’s The Thing, which itself was an adaptation of John W Campbell science-fiction novella Who Goes There, van Heijningen’s prequel has mileage but could have gone further in seeking to create new elements for fans of the original.

If you watch Carpenter’s film again, you’ll notice how van Heijningen has deftly woven a back story into his version of The Thing.

The 1982 incarnation mentions a Norwegian camp beset by darker forces and this prequel depicts that research team, showing how a dog infected by the organism heads across the snowy landscape between the two camps.

Van Heijningen’s The Thing has the benefit of cinema’s modern special effects and, at times, he put’s this to good use. There are some deliciously messy scenes involving contorted heads and deviant body parts that will have the more squeamish of watchers reaching for the sick bucket.

But with all the advances in CGI technology, these could have been even more disturbing and disgusting.

Looking like a young Sigourney Weaver, Mary Elizabeth Winstead of Scott Pilgrim fame plays Kate Lloyd with rough around the edges antipodean Joel Edgerton as Sam Carter.

This modern update of The Thing isn’t a bad horror film, it’s just not a great one either.

Carpenter’s version is undeniably darker, chock full of suspense and grindingly more effective. And the iconic director never had access to today’s special effects either.

Hopefully an even more wicked sequel to this prequel will infiltrate our screens soon enough.

Matt Arnoldi

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