John Carpenter’s The Thing is a 1982 film that is based on the novella written by John W. Campbell Jr. It was initially a film that did not turn out as well as expected. And of course, in the era when it was released, this movie’s premise and the setting is not exactly mainstream as well. The main star is Kurt Russel who will eventually appear in other films that have cult followings. Now, several decades later, could this film still hold on to its own weight and survive the test of time? Read on The Thing film review below to find out!
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. However, could they accomplish this arduous and deadly task in the snowstorm?
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.