Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Film Review: The Thing (1982)

The Thing (Review)
United States/1982
Format Viewed for Review: Showtime
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"...a film that chokes you with its sense of isolation and paranoia."

A group of researches in Antarctica are unwittingly compromised by an alien force that can become any living organism it touches with perfect accuracy...

The Thing is a classic horror film. Its status as a classic can't be disputed. That doesn't mean everyone has to love it. However, that does mean it has already been reviewed thousands of times. So, I'll try to keep my review short and simple. The plot takes place at an American research station in Antarctica. A pair of Norwegians in a helicopter chase an Alaskan Malamute to said base, actively trying to kill it—and they fail. The dog stays at the base while MacReady (Kurt Russell), a helicopter pilot, and Dr. Copper head out to the Norwegian base to find out what's happening. And, at their base, they find nothing but death and destruction. They discover the Norwegian team uncovered something in the ice... and that something has found its way to their base. If you haven't seen The Thing by now—and that's hard to believe but it's completely possible—then it's a better film if you go in blind. So, I won't spoil anything else. Just know: the plot is great, it leads to a strong climax, and it has a compelling ending.

The Thing is a fantastic film. As I already state, the story is great. It is simple but effective. The characters aren't the deepest, you won't get their life stories, but they are likable and you ultimately care about them. The general plot along with the superb direction work well in creating never-ending suspense, a devastating sense of isolation, and an unnerving sense of paranoia. It keeps you at the edge of your seat, second-guessing everyone and everything. It's also one of the most atmospheric horror films I've ever seen. And, of course, the gore and special effects are spectacular. The mere concept of 'The Thing' is horrifying and the special effects amplify everything in this creature feature. I suppose it has a few minor issues, though. For one, it can be contrived—characters with butterfingers, flamethrowers suddenly stop working, etc. And, although I liked its often slow-burn pace, I can see it being too slow for some people.

The acting was great, though. Kurt Russell is fantastic as the leading man. The supporting cast is also strong. The film was shot beautifully. I've seen this film multiple times before, but this was actually my first time watching it in high-definition. It looked stunning. The cinematography and the camerawork were great. Although the soundtrack might not have any iconic tracks, it is definitely a great soundtrack. It screams 80s John Carpenter, despite being composed by Ennio Morricone. The screenplay was written by Bill Lancaster and directed by John Carpenter. Despite a few plot contrivances, the writing was good. Carpenter's direction was superb, though. Together, Lancaster and Carpenter create an eerie, suspenseful, and exciting horror film.

Overall, The Thing is a masterpiece of suspense and horror. It is a film that chokes you with its sense of isolation and paranoia. From beginning to end, it kept me hooked and horrified. It also features one of my favorite scenes of all time—the blood test. If you haven't watched it and you love horror, watch it—now.

Score: 10/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore.

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