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.
Strong premise as a group of American scientists and researchers posted at an isolated station in Antarctica. A visit to a decimated Norwegian encampment in the vicinity reveals that a space ship, which had remained buried in ice for as many as 100,000 years, has been uncovered, and that no survivors were left to tell what was found.
First manifestation of The Thing arrives in the form of an escaped dog from the Scandinavian camp. It soon becomes clear that The Thing is capable of ingesting, then assuming the bodily form of, any living being.
What the old picture delivered – and what Carpenter has missed – was a sense of intense dread, a fear that the loathed creature might be lurking around any corner or behind any door.
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Kurt Russell is the nominal hero, although suicidal attitude adopted towards the end undercuts his status as a centerscreen force.