The Thing (2011)

thing poster 2011 movie review
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Interesting prequel with nice production value ties to the 1982 version

Lifeless at points and mimics the 1982 movie too closely to feel original

Movie Info

Movie Name: The Thing

Studio: Strike Entertainment

Genre(s): Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s): October 14, 2011

MPAA Rating: R

thing 2011 monster original

Say what you will about inviting the Thing to a party, but it is good at limbo.

Something has been found in Antarctica.  A Norwegian group has uncovered a space ship and an alien that crawled from it, and the company owner has called in a paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) to help him document the discovery.  When a tissue sample of the creature is taken, it awakens the beast.  Now, the thing is lose, and it could be anyone of the researchers.  The beast must be stopped before it reaches civilization…which could destroy all life on Earth!

Directed by Matthijs van Heijningen, The Thing is a prequel to John Carpenter’s The Thing, but it also is a stand-alone semi-remake.  John Carpenter’s 1982 version of The Thing is actually a remake of The Thing from Another World in 1951 and based on John W. Campbell, Jr.’s 1938 story Who Goes There?  The movie received mixed to negative reviews.

John Carpenter’s The Thing was a surprising sleeper hit.  It did not perform well at the box office, but it quickly gained a cult audience with the explosion of VHS.  I can remember renting The Thing over and over again and it was one of the horror movies that shaped me.  The concept of a prequel seemed pretty unnecessary…and it was.  Despite this, The Thing does have some moments, but it does not have much spirit.

thing 20111 kate mary elizabeth winstead joel edgerton flamethrower

Burn, baby, burn!

The newest version of The Thing is tied to the John Carpenter thing since it was a Norwegian base that the infected dog they discovered originated.  This makes up part of the fun of this Thing movie.  You can see the recreated sets and learn how the deaths occurred.  It is kind of clever in that sense…I think you probably have to be a fan of the first film to see how they connect the stories (although issues involving the space ship really don’t connect right).

Mary Elizabeth Winstead does a nice job but she’s no Kurt Russell who really was great at MacReady in 1982.  Filmmakers didn’t want the two compared, but it is hard not to compare.  Their goal was to make her more of an Ellen Ripley character (her insistence that no one could leave the camp almost mimics Ripley in Alien when she refused the alien entry into the ship).  She also wields a mighty fine flamethrower like Ripley.  She is backed by a large cast that really never develops except Joel Edgerton, but even he feels paper thin.

thing 2011 monster ending

I just want to give you a hug!

The effects in The Thing kind of take away from this movie.  They are computer generated and the Thing has a lot of screen time.  The 1982 effects were all puppets and amazing (except for an unfortunate Claymation ending).  Seeing a computer generated Thing that can do anything you would think would be better, but it isn’t amazing in the sense of today’s effects.  It is common place.  In 1982, it was cool.  Here it just feels like “we can make the craziest creatures imaginable and people will love them.”  The good thing is that it goes back to the 1982 Thing for its models and tries to match up with what is found.

The Thing is a strange movie…I didn’t hate it or love it.  I did think the production value was pretty high and it did have some original points, but for some reason I was still bored.  One point in the movie did raise an interesting question about the classic end to the 1982 Thing.  In this version the thing can’t replicate metal (which makes sense) and Kate sees an earring is missing.  This links to the original ending which the character of Childs has an earring…if that is the case he couldn’t possibly be the Thing…It is food for thought in the nerd world.

Related Links:

The Thing from Another World (1951)

The Thing (1982)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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