CHANNEL 4 4SEVEN E4 MORE4 FILM4 4MUSIC 4oD

Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Horror
  • 2011

The Thing

The Thing

Synopsis

A shape-shifting monster is found in a buried UFO. Once defrosted, it proceeds to kill and impersonate various members of an Antarctic research facility, like a deadly Stars In Their Eyes variety act.

About

This is the kind of review where what we really need is a flowchart. Have you seen John Carpenters 1982 The Thing? No? Proceed directly to paragraph two. You have? Ok, so heres the deal. This film is a sort-of prequel, sort-of remake, sort-of inspired-by beastie that borrows many of the 1982 versions aesthetic choices and basic conceits. Just as the monster of the title takes a unique organic original and seeks to replicate it sufficiently well that it can pass as the same type of thing in the eyes of the unwary, so this remake is both The Thing, and also not The Thing, but a deceptive copy.

Taken on its own terms, this film provides some reasonably effective monster movie fun. If you have a friend who jumps easily at horror movies, theyll be jumping at several points here. (Whether these jumps are all earned by the filmmakers, or more a result of suddenly ramping the volume up on a sudden visual cue is a question for more seasoned horror hounds.) The filmmakers also introduce a language barrier between various characters, further exacerbating the paranoia and tension that is a hallmark of any isolated who-dunnit. Or in this case, who-is-it.

Ultimately what lets the 2011 incarnation of The Thing down somewhat is its state-of-the-art effects. Which is ironic, when you consider that the practical latex and corn-syrup effects are one of the crowning joys of the 1982 version created almost 30 years ago. Its de rigeur amongst film critics to carp about CGI, but here, some moaning is justified, precisely because they use CGI very effectively in some scenes, but ridiculously in others. There are moments in this film that represent the best of what CGI can accomplish and others where the sense that youre looking at a computer image overwhelms what should be the horror of the situation. This team know how to do good CGI, why cant they tell the difference?

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Eric Christian Olsen, Ulrich Thomsen
  • Director: Matthijs van Heijningen

In a nutshell

Can't possibly compare to the film it's inspired by, but if you've not seen the 1982 version, you should find it reasonably harmless, albeit with an increasingly daft climax

by Catherine Bray

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4 Men In Black 3

    Men In Black 3

    Agent J (Will Smith) travels back to the 1960s to stop an alien from assassinating a young Agent K (Josh Brolin) and changing the course of history

  • Film4 Kon-Tiki

    Kon-Tiki

    Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl (Pål Sverre Hagen) and a crew of five set out to sail a balsa wood raft from Peru to the islands of Polynesia

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Joe Cunningham's 11 recommendations for LFF 14

    Unfortunately I haven¿t been jet setting around the world this year to the various exciting international film festivals, but that¿s what makes the London Film Festival¿s compilation approach to progr

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Michael Leader's 11 recommendations for LFF 2014

    One of the best things about the London Film Festival¿s smorgasbord approach to programming is that, amongst the world premieres and gala screenings, there¿s an eclectic collection of exciting films o

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share