Despite its advanced age, John Carpenter’s legendary remake of 1951’s “The Thing from Another World” has survived the passing of time nearly unscathed. That’s thanks to a combination of elements that all converge extremely well: Carpenter’s directorial work is assured, Ennio Morricone’s score is memorably eerie, and thanks to a steady editing job by Todd Ramsay, the pacing is admirably mannered – but really, they all play second fiddle to the truly remarkable special effects. Those effects are so well parsed that part of their appeal is their judicious use: Carpenter doesn’t exactly paint the walls red throughout the narrative, choosing instead of economically deploy his arsenal of grotesque practical effects, and their impact is heightened by his overall measured approach. Additionally, Bill Lancaster’s screenplay depthly plays on people’s general mistrust of others by augmenting the original movie’s paranoia by turning the characters against each other (although it’s occasionally hard to tell the overabundant characters apart, which can be a little confusing sometimes), and the juxtaposition of the psychological stress with the physical horrors establishes an unsettling atmosphere that gradually grows more oppressive. Ultimately “The Thing” is one of the best horror movies of the 1980s and one of the best genre movies ever made, in my opinion (and also makes a great Halloween viewing choice, nudge nudge wink wink).
Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)