John Carpenter crafts a compelling alien horror story in The Thing, a staple for modern body horror and alien films, the film stars Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Peter Maloney, T.K. Carter, Keith David as a group of scientists in Antarctica on a research mission, they discover and come across a shapeshifting alien life form.
The plot of The Thing is some great classic horror, an unknown entity in The Thing, which is never properly identified or classified, a set of interesting characters with no where to run to and some tense, action, John Carpenter directs the film very effectively and builds great suspense throughout the film. And while the film is an out and out horror, it also has some pretty good performances, especially from Kurt Russell, as the group of scientists panic and try to keep calm heads in their situation. The thing alien itself is pretty terrifying, simply as you don’t know what it is or what it can do, we’re in the dark just like the characters and equally horrified as we find out what it can do, its’ abilities are creative and an abomination in the way it can morph anything into a weird monster.
And for being a film from 1982, the film still holds up in terms of its’ effects, with Carpenter making use of the technology at the time to make certain scenes, which still look gory as hell and unsettling, that feeling of chaos as the scientists attempt to kill the thing is also effectively captured and with it being able to shape shift. The shape shifting element is a big part of the story and adds that extra element of human conflict, people turn on each other suspecting the thing might be one of them and that intrigue is and tension is maintained well through the film, seeing people at their lowest, fighting among themselves in a seemingly impossible to escape situation is good drama but add in a killer alien that can be anyone to that and you have a pretty compelling angle there.
Personally I would have loved some backstory to the Thing but I also understand that the mystery around it serves the plot well and adds to the intrigue of the thing as knowing less about it makes it a bit more scary. Also the setting of Antarctica is a good touch, with the environment inhospitable and as harsh and cold as The Thing itself is, the scientists have nowhere else to go and if they run they’ll freeze to death but if they stay the Thing may get them and while they can get off site with a helicopter, getting away is a lot easier said than done.
The Thing is some great modern horror, well crafted and well shot with a great story to it, it’s a contained story that is victim to some predictability but it stands as a staple of modern body horror and as a great alien horror film.
. Imaginative creature design
. Great set of characters
. Has some pretty gripping scenes