So, did you ever wonder what Carpenter's remake would be like if Carpenter was replaced by a dude trying to be Carpenter, Kurt Russell was replaced by a chick and Rob Bottin was replaced by a computer? Then go see this remake. Or prequel. Or is it a pre-make? Whatever you wanna call it, it's a serious disappointment for anyone who lists Carpenter's flick on their list of top 10 horrors. Being that it seems to have been made for folks like us, i'd have to call this one an epic failure. On a cellular level.
There's been a lot of debate as to whether The Thing 2011 is a remake or a prequel, as it's billed, and though I guess it really doesn't matter, i've gotta go ahead and consider it a remake now that i've seen it. A remake cleverly disguised as a prequel so that the diehard fans of Carpenter's Thing won't hate on it merely for being another remake. Carpenter's film pretty much shows us what happened to the Norwegians through what happens to Kurt Russell and his American crew, so essentially a prequel story would more or less have to be the same one as the one we've already seen, just with a different cast of characters. That's exactly what this Thing is and though it is technically a prequel, showing us what happened before the events of Carpenter's film, it's hard not to call it a remake. Hell, it's even called The Thing, for christ's sake. But again, all that really matters is whether the movie is any good or not, and I personally found little to no merit in it. While finding out what happened before one of our favorite horror movies took place may sound cool and interesting on paper, this pre-make is just a modern day version of the 1982 Thing, rife with all the problems that plague so many horror films that come out these days. The main problem? Yep, you guessed it.
In the months and weeks leading up to this release, I remained excited about the film because the makers of it kept talking about how they used mostly practical effects to depict the creatures, with CGI only being used to enhance those practical effects. That was music to my ears, being that The Thing '82 is in my eyes the best practical effects horror film ever made. Even 30 years later the effects are still mind blowing and I was excited to see what could be done nowadays. Boy am I sucker. The practical effects work is far overshadowed by the CGI in this pre-make, with literally every creature making me roll my eyes with how piss poor and computerized they looked. Not that I ever don't mind CGI, but when CGI is so overused in a remake of a film that is so memorable for having such kickass practical effects, I can't help but feel sad for the current state of horror. The Thing with CGI is like Jaws being remade with a computer generated shark and it's further proof of the fact that CGI is killing horror and will never replace or even come close to the power of practical effects. In some sick and twisted way I kinda love that this movie is so reliant on CGI, because it perfectly showcases the anti-CGI sentiments I and so many others have been preaching about for so many years. Actions speak louder than words and this film speaks volumes about the current state of the genre, louder than my words or the words of anyone else could ever speak. The Thing with fucking CGI. Fuck that noise.
Shoddy effects aside, the creatures in this one feel like they belong in a different movie, as they're more of the stalk and kill monsters you'd see in a film like Resident Evil, which contradicts the way Carpenter depicted them and makes the whole ordeal feel like just another generic monster movie. Bah humbug.
For the casual horror fan who doesn't notice any difference between CGI and practical effects and who hasn't seen The Thing '82, it's perhaps not too awful of a gruesome creature feature and will probably entertain and gross out. But for fans of Carpenter's masterpiece, who this prequel seems to set out to please, it's nothing but a lame modern day replication of the far superior film JC gifted us with three decades ago, lacking in kickass effects, likable characters and any sense of suspense or paranoia. If you belong in that latter category, The Thing 2011 will only fill you with a desire to lock yourself in a room with 80's horror and never head out to the theater again.
If you see it, whether you enjoy it or not, be sure to stay through the end credits for a little treat that should put a smile on your face if you're a fan of the original remake. It may well be the only thing in the movie that'll make you do anything but roll your eyes and wish you spent your night with the '82 version.