Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Thing: Body Horror and Creatures at the South Pole

Movie Review: The Thing

Director: John Carpenter

Reviewed: 16 November 2013

jamesintexas rating--***1/2

The Thing has the pedigree of one of the all-time great horror films, and I will admit that it did not disappoint. Kurt Russell leads a bearded band of scientists on an outpost in the frigid South Pole that encounters a dog being chased through the snow by a Norwegian helicopter. The Norwegians are firing upon the dog, injure a scientist, and end up being blown up themselves. All that is left is the wreckage and the dog and a series of unanswered questions. When one scientist becomes infected by something unexplainable, the remainder band together and try to keep the danger out. However, part of the menace comes from the creatures ability to shape shift and take the form of other creatures, even humans.

The film is unrelenting in its approach with a spare score and a constant stream of suspense. There are multiple jaw-dropping moments of terror with incredible creatures effects and gore. It feels scary in a very authentic way. The hallways are spare, and the cold, unrelenting. The film feels like it takes place in outer space or in a desert with its claustrophobia. A scene where Russell tests the blood of the survivors is quite fun, and the supporting cast of all-male scientists conveys fear, cabin fever, paranoia, and rage, sometimes all at the same time. Wilford Brimley in particular is a standout as a scientist gone wild. The Thing is only as strong as its scary moments, and the team behind the creature here does memorable work. A gripping, disturbing film.

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