Dutch director Matthijs van Heijningen and company deliver lean suspense, and they update the Carpenter crew's gnarly alien-shapeshifter effects skillfully enough to remind us why the concept captures geek imaginations.
As monster movies go, however, this one is better than the drivel we are normally subjected to and, by taking itself seriously (rather than adding comedic punctuation), it allows for tension and scares.
It's full of chills and thrills and isolated Antarctic atmosphere and terrific Hieronymus Bosch creature effects, and if it winks genially at the plot twists of Carpenter's film, it never feels even a little like some kind of inside joke.
After the gradual build-up, for which director Heijningen relies more on inevitability rather than any demonstrable skill at generating genuine suspense, the payoff seems rote and completely out of step with everything that's come before.
This version of "The Thing," directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr., provides such graphic and detailed views of the creature that we are essentially reduced to looking at special effects, and being aware that we are.