(Review originally written at 25 January 2009)

It had been quite some years since I had last seen this movie and the earlier brilliant and fresh movie version "The Thing from Another World" from 1951 was more fresh on my mind. I think I can say that "The Thing" is actually even a better movie. It's a great horror with a touch of science-fiction.

To put it boldly, this movie is like "Alien", only set at the Antarctic. It has the same sort of atmosphere, build up, look and of course a killer alien on the loose. However this is not an "Alien" clone. The movie is just too good for that to call it one.

I think I can say that this is one of the most paranoid movies ever made. It's actually quite easy to make a good and effective horror movie once you know to create a certain level of paranoia into the movie. In this movie you just never known who the alien is, which makes you very uncertain of things and makes you literally trust no one or his motivations throughout the movie. With this given element the movie knows to build up a great tension and atmosphere for the movie. It's horror elements mostly gets feed from these elements and it's what makes "The Thing" such a superior and classic movie within its genre.

You really have to give John Carpenter credit for this movie. He has done lots of classic horror movies throughout his career but this one perhaps is his most brilliant one. He builds up the movie extremely well and very effectively. What also helps with this are Ennio Morricone's moody musical score (while normally Carpenter composes the music himself for all of his movies) and the camera-work from later Oscar-nominee Dean Cundey. Why doesn't he do horror movies anymore? Now days he mostly makes bright looking, happy movies, while in the past he did the camera-work for some fine and classic horror flicks, including "The Fog" and "Halloween", which also got directed by John Carpenter.

It's also a quite gory movie to watch. The still at the time very young Rob Bottin did a very good job with all of its make-up effects. Some truly gory and unexpected things are happening throughout this movie, so know what to expect.

It also knows to remain a realistic movie throughout, even though it of course doesn't feature a very likely main plot. It's because of its directing handling, acting and its writing that the movie works out that way.

The movie doesn't feature many characters and also no big names playing them, except for Kurt Russell of course. This also keeps the movie realistic and keeps all characters on the same level. It helps for the atmosphere of the movie, since you also don't know who is going to die next and where and how. It increases also the overall paranoid feeling of the movie.

A brilliant classic atmospheric genre-piece!


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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