The Thing

Critics Consensus

Grimmer and more terrifying than the 1950s take, John Carpenter's The Thing is a tense sci-fi thriller rife with compelling tension and some remarkable make-up effects.

85%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 67

92%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 132,196

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Movie Info

In remote Antarctica, a group of American research scientists are disturbed at their base camp by a helicopter shooting at a sled dog. When they take in the dog, it brutally attacks both human beings and canines in the camp and they discover that the beast can assume the shape of its victims. A resourceful helicopter pilot (Kurt Russell) and the camp doctor (Richard Dysart) lead the camp crew in a desperate, gory battle against the vicious creature before it picks them all off, one by one.

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Critic Reviews for The Thing

All Critics (67) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (57) | Rotten (10)

  • The Thing is set in an all-male environment, and is as much a study of masculinity in crisis as an update of the sort of siege scenario that Carpenter had already played out in Assault on Precinct 13.

    October 23, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Carpenter's direction is slow, dark, and stately; he seems to be aiming for an enveloping, novelistic kind of effect, but all he gets is heaviness.

    May 25, 2011 | Full Review…
  • The special effects can't hope to be as creepy to our seen-it-all eyes as they were to the film's first viewers, but we can still enjoy the monster's unique weirdness, and the story is a rock-solid yarn.

    September 18, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • It's pretty scary and entertaining stuff, though I always get the feeling that nothing in it lives up to the tremendous opening section.

    September 18, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • If it's the most vividly guesome monster ever to stalk the screen that audiences crave, then The Thing is the thing. On all other levels, however, John Carpenter's remake of Howard Hawks' 1951 sci-fi classic comes as a letdown.

    June 6, 2007 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Russell's sub-Eastwood heroics hardly compensate for the absence of all characterisation, while Bill Lancaster's script boasts the most illogical climax any monster movie ever had.

    June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Thing

  • Apr 23, 2017
    The Thing being the second John Carpenter film I've watched this week, I'm starting to notice why he's such a "big deal" in the film business, but I'm also realizing that his style may not be best suited for my tastes in film. The Thing is a remake of a 1951 Howard Hawks film, which in itself is based on a novella, and the film was once again remade in 2011. Ultimately, this story is widely popular. But the funny thing is, the story doesn't feel all that special or unique. The film adapts the "whodunit" or rather "who is it" movie trope that has been used for as long as films have been made. I don't have a problem with that, but I do have a problem with this film feeling like a rip-off to Ridley Scott's 1979 Alien film. Right down to the chest bursting scene. Some people may say that the original novella probably influenced Scott in making Alien, which may be true. But then why not change up a few plot points and shot selections instead of feeling overtly derivative from a film that is only a few years old. It also doesn't help that for all the blood, guts, jumps, and scares, we don't really get a look inside the minds of any of these characters. None of them are memorable, even Kurt Russell's flame throwing bearded helicopter pilot. Heck, we never even see the guy fly a helicopter. I hate to keep bringing up Alien, so I'll compare the recent movie, Life. That film doesn't have anything new to add to the genre of "trapped-in-horror-thriller", but it consistently entertains you because you get to know each character and you care about them. The Thing's cast consists of a dozen or so men ranging from 30-65, and I don't remember any of their names or backstories. Why? Because the movie didn't take the time to establish either. The Thing does do quite a few things well, though. The practical special effects are mind-blowing for a film from the early-80's. I would love to see some of the behind the scenes featurettes and how they were able to pull off some of the shots. If only the film didn't make me cringe every few minutes with its gratuitous blood spatters and gut bursting shots. The Thing also did a nice job at pacing out the deaths and jump scares where it didn't feel too overpowering at any one point but it also never got to the point of boredom either. Not to mention Ennio Morricone's haunting main theme that plays throughout the film. That will surely send chills down anyone's spine. So overall, The Thing is another Carpenter film to get a mixed response from me. He's a good filmmaker, but I highly doubt I will ever sit down a re-watch his films as religiously as some film fans do. Perhaps I'd like Howard Hawks version better. +Score +Effects -No character depth -Feels derivative 6.4/10
    Thomas D Super Reviewer
  • Apr 02, 2013
    [img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img]
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Mar 27, 2013
    The original Thing is a horror/sci fi masterpiece. As mentioned in my review of the new "The Thing", there is a nice setup in the prequel which would make watching both films back to back rather enjoyable.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 21, 2013
    The Thing is a film I have long wanted to watch for, and I'm pleased by the overall result. The special effects were amazing, and there were plenty of creepy images. I found that the images though and eerie scenes were scarier than the actual idea. The film wasn't just about an alien, this film featured deep paranoia, and had myself asking, "what would I do?". After the movie I found out this was nominated for a Razzie, for the score. I didn't find the score was to bad, but I certainly can't say it was good. I would've wished for more character devolepmet, I ended not knowing any of the names or even characteristics of the characters. Most people probably like that it jumped straight in, but I wanted to be more attached. The Thing is still a successful eerie sci-fi, that movies quickly, but not always fluently. 3 stars+
    Daniel D Super Reviewer

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