Okay so before I get into how I felt about The Thing, let me tell you a story. When I was ten, my dad and I watched this movie together. I know, how could someone that age watch this movie? Well, I’ll tell you by saying that since I was ten, so eleven years, I have not watched this movie for the sole reason of being so scared of it that I didn’t know if I could take it. Well, after I saw The Void, I figured I should give this another go as that film pays heavy homage to this classic. Well, I’m glad I did because this film still holds up 35 years later. It is a fantastic, tense and paranoia inducing ride into the scariest situation imaginable. What if the person next to you wasn’t the same person you knew and in fact a terrifying alien being that could impersonate that specific person? My lord, I can’t believe it took me this long to rewatch this film.
The Thing takes place in 1982 in a remote research station in Antarctica. When a Norwegian helicopter is pursuing a wild dog, RJ MacReady (Kurt Russell) and his team take the wild dog in. They soon learn the reason this wild dog was being chased. The dog is an Alien lifeform that is able to impersonate whatever lifeform it comes in contact with and disposes of. The team must dispatch of this creature. The only issue is they don’t know if the person next to them is the actual person or this thing posing as them. So begins 109 minutes of pure paranoia induced horror and I loved every second of it.
John Carpenter is an absolute horror icon, delivering countless classics including one of my favorite horror films ever, 1978’s Halloween. I can add this to that list of favorite horror films because I was both terrified and super invested every second of this film. There were a few times that startled me like no end and that’s due to the way Carpenter sets up each frame, slowly building the tension until it explodes, both literally (usually in with a gory mess) and figuratively. Speaking of the gore, the make-up in this film is the one reason alone that film fans need to see this. It is absolutely breathtaking that this movie was made almost four decades ago and looks better than a film made four months ago.
The acting was also really well done which around this time was very rare in a horror film. Kurt Russell as usual kills it as the badass MacReady who never feels like a movie hero but a regular guy who is just trying to survive. Keith David as Childs is also really fun and likable in his role. The final scene. which ends ambiguously, has been theorized for years as to what it means and I thought the little visual clues as to what it means were so well placed.
The Thing is a true horror classic. It is scary, intense, ambiguous and downright amazing. John Carpenter creates a world that is way worth revisiting time and time again. I absolutely recommend this film to everyone and believe it is a landmark horror classic that has and will continue to age well for many years to come.