The Thing 2011 is a prequel to John Carpenter’s 1982 masterpiece and a worthy successor to one of my favorite movies. I know that you might be a bit skeptical considering just how bad some of these sequels, prequels, and reboots are but I assure you this one’s different. It treats the legacy of the original with respect and tries to both pay homage to it and bring something new to the table. It’s clever, intriguing, and offers almost the same kind of atmosphere. Additionally, it looks freaking awesome as one of the few good modern body horror movies.
First of all, you should know that the director refused to do a remake because he felt that the original is perfect. The Thing 2011 focuses on the fates of those poor Swedes, I’m sorry, those poor Norwegians we saw in the opening scene of the original. Jesus zombie Christ, I can hear that ominous bass in my head right fucking now! Pom, pom pom, pom, pom pom… This sets the mood for what’s about to follow perfectly. Since the story takes place in Antarctica, it kind of reminded me of AVP, only this is an infinitely better movie.
So many people used this movie to vent their frustrations and to appear smart and edgy. Oh my god, it’s not anywhere near the original blah blah blah. I’m such a film nerd, I’m so cool and all the other pretentious bullshit you probably already heard. I have to stand in defense of The Thing 2011 as this is a well-crafted and well-thought-out movie worth your time. You can feel that someone put a lot of time and effort into creating almost a perfect movie.
I mean, the level of detail is simply stunning. They recreated the entire Norwegian station using screenshots from the original movie. They explain how certain things happened and how some people ended up fucked up. However, it’s the atmosphere that got me. Ominous, chilling and quite intense, the atmosphere is one of the best parts of this movie. Along with some pretty good special effects. And I know we didn’t get the practical effects everyone was whining about but these ones look just as cool.
While we’re on this subject, you should know that they wanted to have practical effects with as little CGI as possible. However, they simply didn’t look that good. And I know just how hard this hit the special effects team but sometimes stuff like this happens. If you want to know what this movie would have looked like with just practical effects check out Harbinger Dawn. Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr. made it after they were replaced on the set of this movie.
When it comes to the cast, I really liked Mary Elizabeth Winstead as the lead. Joel Edgerton and Ulrich Thomsen were also great. Fuck me, Thomsen in The Thing prequel is the last thing I expected. Too bad that Stellan Skarsgard didn’t get a role. Eric Christian Olsen was miscast in my opinion but what can you do. They did the same thing with the Prometheus and Logan Marshall-Green. At least we got charming Kristofer Hivju who would go on to play Tormund in Game of Thrones.
After a strange thing was discovered in Antarctica, Dr. Sander Halvorson invites graduate student Kate Lloyd to help his crew to extract a specimen from the ice. Kate reluctantly decides to go, knowing full well that this is going to be a difficult mission. However, she’s about to find out that it’s going to be very dangerous as well.
I knew that The Thing 2011 is going to be great within the first two minutes. After establishing where we are and what year is, we focus our attention on three scientists just going about their day. And one of them tells a joke. Realistic, immersive, funny, and more importantly not blunt, this little scene is pure gold. As you probably know by now, I love stories about ordinary men and women in extraordinary situations. I don’t like superheroes, secret agents, and other big shots. Give me a movie about a crew of space janitors and I’m fucking golden.
Additionally, the joke is really funny and it’s followed by one hell of a scene that looks fucking awesome. Featuring excellent pacing, The Thing 2011 is a very entertaining little movie. And the best thing about it is the fact you can follow it up with the original The Thing. And after the original, you can go back to watching this one and so forth. Now, I’m not going to reveal too much about the creatures because I want you to have the same reaction I did. However, I can tell you they’re nasty, twisted, and perverted in such creative ways they feel like Lovecraftian fever nightmare.
Finally, I have to add that the version of the movie before is the one heavily influenced by studios. The process was so overwhelming and frustrating for Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. that he took a ten-year break. In the original version, we would learn more about The Thing and how it came to Earth. The same goes for the ending that studios thought was too complex. They wanted more scary and nasty stuff, turning The Thing 2011 almost into an exploitation movie.
Director: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.
Writers: L Eric Heisserer, John W. Campbell Jr.
Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Ulrich Thomsen, Eric Christian Olsen, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Carsten Bjørnlund
Fun Facts: The ‘distress beacon’ is the same as used for the Icarus 1 distress beacon in Sunshine.