A large portion of the horror community is quietly preparing to apply their critical voices to the task of abung Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.’s forthcoming prequel to John Carpenter’s beloved chiller, The Thing. Peruse just about any webte to run a break illuminating the release of the trailer; just scan the slew of responses that echo the same sentiments repeatedly: this looks exactly like the original! They lied to us, it’s all CGIWell ladies and gents, condering the fact that we already know the fate of this specific team of Norwegian researchers mirrors that of the catastrophe befallen R.J. MacReady and his crew, you should find no surprise within the few moments showcased by the film’s official trailers. You should also reserve judgment in regards to the special effects; we’ve seen a combined 30 seconds of visual insanity, and I’m apt to believe there’s a shitload of chaos in this picture.
My advice means little really, because as I stated, a great number of fans (disgruntled purists) have already reached a concluon: The Thing is a terrible remake. Why see it when you know exactly what waits within the folds of 103 minutes of recycled footage?
To this I answer, quite mply, because we have no idea what strengths, or weaknesses, van Heijningen Jr.’s vion offers. I must confess, I agree with anyone who states the obvious: the trailer is certainly CGI heavy. I don’t however agree with anyone who assumes that the entire film will follow a strictly digital mold. I expect some fair practical effects to provide believable support to the digital work. I also expect the story we’re offered to differ from Carpenter’s timeless 1982 offering. I don’t foresee a dramatic shift in the general concept, but I expect some interesting variations and a few twists we haven’t seen yet.
I understand the typical trepidation. Hollywood is once again treading sacred ground, and I can completely understand the unease with which many harbor; we’re tired of seeing big wigs massacre clasc cinema. Who wins, other than production studios? Not many. That said, I believe The Thing could prove to be one of those extremely rare surprises.
5. Women?: The Thing was a relatively rare film if for no other reason than the mple fact that not a ngle woman ever so much as flirts with screen time. This time around, we’ll go “coed” (if you will) and toss a few females in the mix. While this small detail may not seem like a masve shift directionally, I expect it to create a noticeably different vibe to the film as a whole. If you’re looking for change, look no further than the casting.
4. Australian Bad Ass? Check!: Joel Edgerton is a fucking bad ass and that’s all there is to it. The man is versatile, believable and perhaps most importantly, likeable. Anyone who can play a gnificant hand in creating a respected film based on the sport of mixed martial arts (I’m not hating, in fact MMA is a big part of my life) deserves respect, attention and plenty of kick ass opportunities.
1. The Power of a Compelling Foundation: At the end of the day, John Carpenter’s re-imagining of Christian Nyby’s original 1951 chiller, The Thing from Another World is enjoyable because Carpenter knew to play off humanity as much as the foreign. The creature itself is a frightening creation, and while John dedicated plenty of attention to the monster, he never contemplated neglecting the relatable. The paranoia that builds within the film is near palpable, and the claustrophobic sensation created by the abysmal surroundings is legitimately powerful. By the time Carpenter’s treasure approaches the final act, it’s tough to identify what’s had a stronger effect: the hideous nature of the alien, or the feeling of impending doom and unwavering isolation?
It’s unlikely that Matthijs will duplicate the dread that Carpenter manufactured. It isn’t however imposble. The foundation is there to be built upon; it’s up to feature first timer van Heijningen Jr. to employ the proper carpenters to assemble the perfect frame. It’s a stretch, but it’s one I’m willing to reach for!