Hollywood remakes often have a history of being…well…total crap. Often changing a classic is thought of as being sacrilegious because it’s recreating a film that was pretty much perfect as it stands – example A the current Footloose remake – don’t get me on my high horse about that one. Often remakes are used as a strategy for money hungry studio bosses to cash in on tweens with a stack of disposable cash by throwing in a moody soundtrack, some vampires and little effort in the script. However, the remake of John Carpenter’s 1982 classic The Thing, could very well be the film that changes our perceptions.
The story is set with an Antarctica research site discovering an alien craft deep within the glaciers. Finding themselves with an alien specimen to research and unsure how to approach the new creature, scientist Dr. Sander Halvorson calls in Palaeontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) to help. But what appears to be a perfectly preserved dead alien soon turns into complete chaos, jeopardising the lives of the research team.
The best thing about this film is there’s no faffing about. They find an alien, they get in an expert, they start the research and blood and horror is shed. No ridiculous back story or long winded set up, just the director’s ability to realise that this is a good old fashion Sci-Fi-horror film and audiences want the action, now. This is probably the films saving grace in a way because at times the special effects are a little laughable, but the script is tight and the action and suspense is heavy, so you can forgive one or two 1980s style effects and look at them as homage to John Carpenter’s original instead.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, (who you might know as John McClane’s daughter in Die Hard 4.0 or Romona Flowers in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), is fantastic as the films heroine. Not only is Winstead completely believable as the smart, savvy Kate Lloyd able to hold her own against the men, she does a brilliant job taking on the action scenes, in what is usually a male dominated genre – instead of running around with her boobs out, screaming like a banshee, she gets to kick some serious alien butt and does it with the calm rationale of a woman on a mission.
Joel Edgerton plays his part with perfection, providing just the right amount of charm to have you constantly question whether he’s trustworthy or not. Norwegian actor Jørgen Langhelle also has to be mentioned for providing a character that allows you to momentarily slip into fits of laughter, before being thrust once again back into the action and suspense unsuspectingly – Lars is played perfectly.
I know I’ve said before that I’m not a big horror fan, but maybe they’re starting to grow on me. If they’re all as good as The Thing, I’ll definitely be seeing more.
– Suzanna Parisi