This remake-cum-prequel to John Carpenter’s “The Thing” isn’t as effective as its predecessor, but it sure has its moments. In some ways, there are scenes where this version actually improves on the original’s narrative: In particular, the characters and their dynamics are much clearer here, and it’s easier to follow exactly what’s going on amidst the chaos than it was in the original. Additionally, Mary Elizabeth Winstead makes an effective lead, using a combination of brains, instincts and brawn to combat the supernatural threat that lurks outside, and while she’s not as charismatic as original lead Kurt Russell, her steeliness and tenacity are compelling. Unfortunately things start going awry once the creature is awakened, because the CGI effects are distractingly poor. Somewhat like “The Mist” or “Event Horizon,” it’s a shame that the movie’s effectiveness is weakened by the effects, which are well-intentioned but clearly held back by a limited budget and it’s truly disappointing because the movie’s bones are so solid. So, it’s one of those enjoyable movies that has a damaging flaw but is still worth the effort, but just be ready to look past the underwhelming CGI.
Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)