It happens every Fall, October just makes me crave horror movies. Whenever I watch classics such as Friday the 13th and John Carpenter's Halloween, it always brings back those nostalgic, childhood memories of experiencing true fear. And whether it's catching yourself locking the door or refusing to sleep with the lights off, horror movies impact us all in a way that other types of cinema can't, and I love it. Although John Carpenter's The Thing has never really resonated much with me, I have seen it and I was also excited for this year's prequel to the 1982 classic. And believe me, there's no better time than October to catch it on the big screen.
Set on the continent of Antarctica, The Thing follows Kate Llyod (played by Winstead) and a team of American and Russian scientists who discover an alien wreckage. When they bring the frozen remains of an alien life form back to the research site, the species escapes and begins to reek havoc on everyone.
Director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr's The Thing does a wonderful job of luring the audience in immediately. Wasting no time, the film quickly unleashes the alien on the team of researchers. Furthermore, the prequel's intriguing plot and suspenseful aura make for a wonderful first and second act. The director manages to keep the middle portion of The Thing properly paced by unfolding new and creative ideas to the plot. Although the film's first hour is really strong, the movie does, however, hit a big wall. While the audience patiently waits for the ending to approach, Heijningen unsuccessfully builds up to The Thing's final scenes. The 25 minute stretch of overdone Tom and Jerry chase scenes begin to feel unbearable at times, but it's imperative to not give up. The film's ending is both solid in delivery, and compatible as a prequel.
Most horror films offer subpar to adequate acting, but The Thing gives you slightly more than that. The cast effectively creates a feeling of tension and fear which truly enables the viewer to buy into the story. Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton needn't be praised for their work, but the two leads do help the film flourish.
2011's The Thing left a much similar impact on me as its 1982 predecessor. Had the ending been tightened up, it would have been a much more enjoyable experience. Otherwise, the film is ever so slightly above average. If you're like me and craving a horror movie this time of year, you might not regret checking out The Thing. It's, at the very least, what you would expect.