RedBox DOs and DON’Ts: The Thing

Kelsey Crouse

In 1982 John Carpenter directed The Thing, a film about an alien that attacks an American base camp in Antarctica. An unknown man enters the camp shooting at a stray dog. After subduing the man, the Americans track down his camp, hoping to find logical answers to the man’s unexplainable madness. What they find is the remains of a camp, a busted block of ice and charred remains in the snow. Last year, director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. revealed the mystery of what happened at that camp in a remake of the movie.

Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is recruited to an excavation team in Antarctica that has made the discovery of a lifetime. Buried beneath the ice are an extraterrestrial ship and a passenger who appears as if it was trying to escape the crash when it was frozen in the ice. The team cuts the block of ice that The Thing has been encased in to haul it back to camp for experiments. Sander Halvorson (Ulrich Thomsen) insists on taking a tissue sample by drilling a hole into the ice, not knowing the horrifying devastation that this small amount of contact will create. When the creature bursts out, the camp soon finds out what it’s capable of; the creature hides inside of people by mimicking or cloning the victims perfectly, except for one detail. When the creature eats the person, it has to digest them in order to become the person. However, it cannot digest metal, giving the team a way to test who is human and who is a monster.

As I have said before, I do not like remakes, continuations of classics or prequels to movies that were made more than ten years ago. They are just not good movies. Nevertheless, there are exceptions to every rule. The Thing is a big exception. The detail alone makes this movie worthwhile. The camp in the new prequel is an exquisite and exact match to the camp in disarray that the original movie depicted, right down to the axe in the wall. This movie is not overly frightening — unless, of course, your worst fear is being taken over by aliens that eat and then clone you, or never knowing who is human and who is not of this world. If that’s the case, then you will be terrified.

The Thing is an awesome alien movie. It is different from War of the Worlds and The X-Files. It is about two beings fighting to survive, not strange lights in the sky or government conspiracy, just a monster killing people one by one. The Thing is definitely a Halloween and Red Box do!