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: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Ulrich Thomsen, Eric Christian Olsen, Joel Edgerton
  • 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 Night Passage

    Night Passage

    James Stewart stars as a railroad man hired to secretly carry a payroll despite his suspected connections to outlaws

  • Film4 Raiders From Beneath The Sea

    Raiders From Beneath The Seas

    Scuba-divers plan a bank robbery on Catalina island, but not everything goes to plan when it comes to their underwater escape

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Gearing up for the Glasgow Film Festival 2015

    The Glasgow Film Festival programme is announced and features Film4-backed films Second Coming and Catch Me Daddy plus much, much more, from 18th February to 1st March It¿s almost time once more for

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance

    As Louise Osmond's inspirational documentary about an unlikely group of friends who breed themselves a racehorse is about to premiere at Sundance 2015, Catherine Bray catches up with the director for

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

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

or Register

Share