The Thing

2011

The Thing

Critics Consensus

It serves the bare serviceable minimum for a horror flick, but The Thing is all boo-scares and a slave to the far superior John Carpenter version.

35%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 169

42%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 40,820
User image

The Thing Photos

Movie Info

Paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has traveled to the desolate region for the expedition of her lifetime. Joining a Norwegian scientific team that has stumbled across an extraterrestrial ship buried in the ice, she discovers an organism that seems to have died in the crash eons ago. But it is about to wake up. When a simple experiment frees the alien from its frozen prison, Kate must join the crew's pilot, Carter (Joel Edgerton), to keep it from killing them off one at a time. And in this vast, intense land, a parasite that can mimic anything it touches will pit human against human as it tries to survive and flourish. The Thing serves as a prelude to John Carpenter's classic 1982 film of the same name. -- (C) Universal

Watch it now

Cast

News & Interviews for The Thing

Critic Reviews for The Thing

All Critics (169) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (59) | Rotten (110)

Audience Reviews for The Thing

  • Nov 02, 2015
    Its as if somebody drunk or high described John Carpenter's version to a filmmaker at a party, and what they made was this movie, without the substance, without the thought, without the bite. The actors are okay, but the special effects guys are expected to carry the whole effort and aren't given any support.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Aug 23, 2015
    Tries hard but ultimately forgets its own heritage.
    Marcus W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 13, 2012
    What do you get when you take the producers of Zack Snyder's "Dawn of the Dead", the writer of "Final Destination 5", the chick from "Final Destination 3", young Uncle Owen from the "Star Wars" prequels, the "Zeppelin Man" from "Fringe", Heavy Duty from "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" and the guy who replaced Jim Carrey for "Dumb and Dumberer", and huck them all in the Antarctic with a viciously murderous alien abomination? You get either what I'd imagine plenty of people wish had happened to Eric Heisserer for co-writing 2010's "A Nightmate on Elm Street" and Eric Christian Olsen for being in "Dumb and Dumberer" (Wow, the Erics attached to this film just can't catch a break), or the makings of a gory cult classic sci-fi horror film's prequel... or remake, or reboot, or whatever in the world this film is. Sorry, but this film's having the same title as the film it's following up makes things very confusing. Wow, just when you thought that the title - for a film about some alien thing - "The Thing" was uncreative enough, they couldn't even come up with a different name for the follow-up, but hey, at least it's still less blatant than this series' real first installment's title, "The Thing [u]from Another World[/u]". I don't know why these people can't come up with a more subtle title when the novel they're adapting is simply titled "Who Goes There?" (Yeah, seriously, who in the world, or rather, who from another world goes there?), but hey I can at least forgive "The Thing from Another World", because that was 1951, a less subtle time. Things had changed by 1982 for the more hardcore, and now, things are even more advanced, and let me tell you, this product of modern filmmaking is... well, not quite as good. Still, it remains pretty decent, though not too much more than that, going "frozen" (Ha, snow joke) at average for quite a few reasons. A major problem and, to a certain degree, major strength with the predecessor was its slowness, which often dulled things down, yet just as often established an effective atmosphere, something that isn't quite as present in this film, as opposed to the slow spots, which are for, well, just the first act. Okay, so there are definately slow spots, but they're very few, and what you really have to worry about is a couple of subtlety faults, particularly in the atmosphere department, for although the film doesn't plummet as low as jump scares as often as the Rotten Tomatoes consensus says, only with a more adorable term, boo-scares, there's a certain blatancy to the atmosphere that feels a bit more manipulative than genuine, thus diluting true tension. These lapses in subtlety aren't so much glaring as much as they're a touch disconcertingly detrimental to the film's overall effectiveness, while what further slows down the final product's impact are lapses in subtleties of a story nature, as this film will often adopt many of the same beats hit by Carpenter's orignal, sometimes for off-putting nostalgia's sake, and sometimes for the sake of substance whose effectiveness goes diluted by the lack of inventiveness. This film's shameless plummets into its roots are relatively few and far between, yet something that almost never abates is this film's plummets into tropes established by the horror film textbook. The film is a relentless barrage of cliches, some of which can be easily shrugged off, and some of which really dig at you, with the latter being prominent enough to establish predictability and land blows to the steam of a film whose story just doesn't quite have a whole lot of steam to begin with. There's not too much bite to this story, and that is emphasized by the film's limited subtlety and excessive genericism, thus rendering the final product not much more than just another horror blockbuster, only one that stands in the shadow of a film that truly was inventive and effective for what it was. However, that's not all necessarily a bad thing, for although I wish that this film was more than what it ended up being, what the final product does ultimately end up being is decently enjoyable entertainment, with certain technical strengths to back up its blockbuster title. What Stan Winston's and Rob Bottin's practical effects had going for them was bonafide inventiveness to go without overall quality, and with this film's visual effects, we're faced with not much more than what we're used to seeing, yet it's not like dazzling digital effects grow tiresome, so sure enough, this film's effects dazzle and blend into this world cleverly, dynamically and organically enough to both impress your technical eye and effectively sell you on the inhuman antagonist. These effects are among, if not at their most dazzling and effective during the action sequences, which are indeed thrillingly dynamic and rather grand, yet tight enough to give a sense of claustrophobia that secures a sense of consequence all the more firmly. With dazzling effects and action thrilling set pieces, as well as generic yet enjoyable and effective score work, and by Marco Beltrami no less (If you want a conventional score that's good enough to help your audience forget the conventionalism, you might want to hit Beltrami up), this film fills enough of the criteria to stand as entertaining, and sure enough, while this film has its slow spells early on, once things truly get going, the film becomes, if nothing else, thoroughly entertaining, with engagingly lively set pieces and blatancy that may prove detrimental to the resonance of the film, but keeps things going at the smooth pace Carpenter's original was anything but on. As far as visceral entertainment is concerned, this is the way to go, but at the end of the day, people want meat with their potatoes, and as far as substance and bite is concerned, this film falls far from the caliber of intrigue found within Carpenter's original, having neither the graceful subtlety nor intense atmosphere that made the film it falls in the shadow of as good as it was. That being said, it's not like this film is dry of genuine intrigue, as director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. keeps the substance of this film pumping along through and through once things pick up, gracing the atmosphere with compelling intrigue that may rarely, if ever evolve into the genuine terror found within Carpenter's original, yet keeps you going, especially when it evolves into all-out tension that particularly stresses the consequence and weight of this film's situation. What further sells you on the weight of the film are the performances, as this cast of talents will tend to, with about as much skill as the talented performers of Carpenter's original, break up a streak of nothing but charisma with the depth, intensity and human emotional range that supplement the effectiveness of the layers that cut within our characters and define them as compelling, or, if nothing else, make for some good performances. Again, I wish I could say that the performances offscreen are as good as the ones found onscreen, but they're not, though still have enough lively inspiration behind them to entertain thoroughly, if if this film could have done more. Overall, the film isn't quite as subtle as it probably should be, boasting a blatant atmosphere and shameless plot beat steals from its predecessor, while going further slowed down by relentless stumbles into horror tropes to make more clear the simple fact that this story just doesn't have much teeth to it, thus leaving the final product to fall short of its potential, but not so short that you can't enjoy yourself, as the film's dazzling visual effects and thrilling set pieces supplement the entertainment value established by director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.'s, albeit improvable, yet primarily lively, if not rather tense atmosphere that brings to life enough intrigue - which goes further brought to life by a myriad of strong performances - to make Marc Abraham's and Eric Newman's "The Thing" an enjoyable blockbuster with its share of thrills and entertainment value, even if it is not much more than simply that. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • May 20, 2012
    I'm sorry, but I first forced myself to believe that this movie deserved something around at least a 40%, because obviously, compared it the 'sequel', it is, as the consensus stated, a slave to it. But screw that crap, this movie was horrible in almost ever meaning of the word, even as a prequel. Now, as a horror movie, it works, it has it's typical jump scares, a few minor scares, & even the creepy atmosphere, but with that aside, everything else about this movie sucks. Plot/Story: What most of the morons around this page fail to get through their heads is that this prequel is NOT A REMAKE. RT's community goes by bitching & screaming "remake" all over the place, when it is clear to me that they have no clue about what a remake even is. This is a PREQUEL! You know, what happened before the movie! Now, as a prequel, it's an interesting take to see how the Thing itself was first discovered, & wreaked havoc among the people that discovered it. The problem with this idea is that the movie makers executed it poorly. This prequel is slow, boring, uninteresting, bland, filled with uninteresting characters, & lacking anything close to good of the first one. Not to mention that a lot of the plot elements are trying to imitate the first one (i.e. the blood test scene in the original). Effects: The effects were pretty much the only decent thing in this movie. Enough said. They mixed CGI with special effects, because the director felt that that actors would have a more natural reaction to the monster by using real-creature effects. Cast/Acting: The acting, while not technically bad, is at best put very bland & dry. Each actor looked bored, completely uninterested in their roles, & like they really wanted to take a coffee brake throughout the majority of the movie. I can't say much on the actors because I didn't care for them in the first place. Characters: All drag, bland, uninteresting, & lacking character development. And they also have very little, to pretty much no personality. The characters, you could give a rat's ass about them in this movie, & I mean really. I didn't care for any of them, & I just wanted to see much more of the creature itself than anything else. Seriously, you won't give two-shits of a cent for the characters in the movie. So as an overall summation, this movie is mediocre at best, & sucks at worse. How someone could make such a horrible prequel which could have been GOOD to an amazing movie like John Carpenter's superior one is beyond me.
    Frisby 2 Super Reviewer

The Thing Quotes

News & Features