This latest mutation of The Thing is relatively slick, efficient, and splattery — and has no particular identity of its own. If you remember the 1982 John Carpenter version (itself a remake of the 1951 film), it starts with a helicopter in the Antarctic doing the Palin-and-the-wolf routine with a dog who those on board are desperate to shoot before it can escape. Unfortunately, the dog survives and gets in with the dogs at another outpost. That beginning is what this new movie is getting to. This is all the result, you see, of something unearthed by a team of Norwegian scientists at a nearby scientific outpost. The new film is all backstory, which carefully brings in some female characters (notably absent from Carpenter’s film), that details the discovery of a spaceship that crashed a couple of hundred thousand years ago (give or take) and its nearby flash-frozen occupant. The latter is ill-advisedly transferred to the outpost. Assuming you know something about the earlier films, you pretty much know where this is going. For that matter, if you know anything at all about the genre, you’re certainly aware that “the Thing” has somehow survived all these years and was just wanting a good defrosting before mayhem and a pretty vague bid for world domination could ensue. It’s at best OK and, at worst, a little dull for all its running around and flame-throwing action. Final call: it’s here, it’s easy enough to sit through, it’ll be even easier to forget in a few weeks. If you want horror and Norwegians, stick with TrollHunter.
Director: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.
Writer: John W. Campbell Jr. and Eric Heisserer
Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Eric Christian Olsen, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Joel Edgerton, Ulrich Thomsen, Kim Bubbs, Jonathan Walker, Stig Henrik Hoff, Trond Espen Seim and Jørgen Langhelle