The Thing

The Thing ★★★½

¨Somebody in this camp ain't what he appears to be. Right now that may be one or two of us. By spring, it could be all of us.¨

When it comes to the horror genre one of the greatest examples of films that ends up on everyone's mind and lists is John Carpenter's The Thing. If we could go back in time to its premiere in 1982 we would have never guessed the success this film would have because it was considered a failure. Audiences and critics alike trashed the film, but somehow overtime it has become a cult favorite. Carpenter was ahead of his time and despite his many successes this is probably his most regarded film now. If I were to choose one film of his to represent his filmography it would be Halloween, but it's because I consider Alien a much better film than The Thing with which it shares some similarities. I'm not the greatest fan of sci-fi and this is more of a sci-fi film than a horror film. However, there are some great things about this movie that I think are worth mentioning. First of all the freezing and isolated setting of the Antarctic continent makes for a terrifying location. Having these characters together in a remote spot without anyone to help them or knowing there is nowhere to go makes for great suspense. The second thing it has going for it, is how well developed the concept of the alien actually is. Being able to adapt by imitating the cell of any living creature makes for a terrifying villain considering the fact that the audience can't know who to trust. Putting these two factors together: the isolation and the idea that anyone could be the alien makes for a terrifying premise. I also enjoyed the lead performance from Kurt Russell, one of my favorite action stars from the 80´s and the fantastic make-up effects.

I do have some major issues with the film as well which don't let me put it up there with other great examples from the genre. Even though it came out after Alien, Psycho, Halloween and Jaws it's not nearly as terrifying. The Thing is more fun than anything else and it doesn't have anything to say. The dialogue and most of the characters are weak and at times cartoonish. There are several elements in the story that didn't work for me either, for example during key moments when the fire gun doesn't seem to work or when they misfire so many gunshots from close range. They were all elements to build the suspense but they simply felt too fake and out of place. It's unfortunate because the premise and location of the film could've turned this sci-fi horror film into a masterpiece.

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