John Carpenter’s The Thing is a 1982 film that has a cult following. It was initially a film that did not turn out as well as expected. However, it was eventually appraised and is now considered one of the greatest horror films. Everything about this classic is about suspense. Great visuals and CGI are almost non-existent, but the sense of tension is there because of directing. This is a mini review of the well-directed classic.
The story is set in an Arctic where a bunch of scientists encountered alien parasites that could take over any living forms. Together, they have to determine who has been infected or be at risk of the annihilation of themselves and the humankind.
So, the setting is set in the Arctic. This creates a sense of isolation from the beginning. At once, we are introduced to all the characters with tidbits of their personality. Then, the film picks up the pace by introducing an alien-copied Norwegian staff from an exploding helicopter to set off the mood. This is where the atmosphere sound and the unseen alien setting are utilised to their best potential. You can never tell who is imitated, other than some clues given from the events that happen. This tension lasted through the whole movie, which shows the director’s skill in knowing to keep the mood constant.
Characters wise, they are not the main focus of the film and this is, unfortunately, less developed. There is a main character but he is depicted more as a leader type than a fully fleshed out character. Others are either playing minor roles or only serve as tension tool for the audience to guess the alien identity. The soundtrack is played at an appropriate time and is not heavily used in the film, which I much prefer. Most of the time you will only be able to hear snowstorm or foley. This decision fully envelopes us into the film as the silence and noises are realistic. A jump scare will definitely work wonders in such environment. The aliens are non-CGI and are actually made of real physical dolls and slime. It’s not scary but as this film is from 1982, it’s truly a marvel to create such good graphics using the technology from that time.