The Thing: Unremarkable Alien-Horror Flick
Joel EdgertonMary Elizabeth Winstead...
HorrorMystery & Suspense...
Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.
A bunch of scientists in Antarctica discover an underground lair and an
unidentifiable creature frozen in the ice. They drill through the ice to get a
DNA sample and in the process, unwittingly awaken the beast. It starts to pick
the scientists off one by one by eating them, copying their DNA and turning
into a replica of the victim. Stuck in a situation where anyone of them could
be a giant mutant alien, a general aura of distrust and tension pervade the
scientists as they try to figure out which of them is the alien and dispose of
it before it escapes their camp.
First things first; let’s get Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s awesome
character out of the way. Not only is she the lead, but she’s also the rare
female character in horror movies who is never half-naked, who is respected for
her brain and who isn’t dependent on guys to save her. She also manages to be
completely badass while staying firmly within the realm of the believable. No
superhero theatrics for this scientist. It’s sad that such a normal character
is rare enough for its presence to be surprising, but hey, that’s Hollywood for
Another unexpected upside to the movie is the alien design. While the
alien here does resemble the oversized, ugly, bug-look that horror movies seem
to be so fond of, The Thing also
combines it with certain humanoid qualities which make it look freaky, if not
scary. In addition, the way it looks shifts frequently depending on its current
prey, thus upping the weird quotient exponentially.
As for the scares; they’re practically nonexistent despite the film’s 15
rating. You may get slightly jumpy but not more than that. They go something
like this: somebody wanders into a room, the alien sneaks up on them and kills
them. Rinse and repeat. And what the movie lacks in tension, isn’t even made up
in fake blood. The film’s as light on gore as it is on terror. By horror movie
standards, it’s pretty tame and very predictable. As the remaining humans
become hip to what’s happening, they take to walking around with a
flamethrower, torching everything in sight in an attempt to burn the thing. It
goes without saying that that flamethrower is the coolest thing about the
And finally, there are so many actors that it’s hard to keep track of
who’s dead and who isn’t. People disappear for so long that by the time they’ve
come back on screen, you don’t even remember that they were in the film to