Sound Off: Matthijs van Heijningen's 'The Thing' - Your Thoughts?

October 14, 2011

The Thing Prequel Sound Off

Now that you've seen it, what did you think? The Thing has a long history. Its origins are in John W. Campbell's short story "Who Goes There?"; there's a 1951 adaptation; and there's John Carpenter's beloved cult classic 1982 version. In theaters today is Matthijs van Heijningen's prequel to Carpenter's film, also titled The Thing, telling the story of the Norwegian camp that first discovers a creature from another world in the ice. So how is it? Is it a worthy follow-up to Carpenter's classic? How are the effects? What about the characters and performances? Once you've seen it, leave a comment and tell us your thoughts on The Thing!

To fuel the fire, while there are some good moments in this new The Thing, overall I was honestly let down. It felt like it was missing a lot, some pieces that would've made it feel a lot more complete. First things first, I was absolutely shocked by the overuse of CGI when everyone kept saying it was supposed to have lots of practical effects. Beyond that, the creature moments aren't even half as scary as the one in Carpenter's 1982 film. And the "test" isn't that great either, nor is it conclusive since it doesn't even "work" on half the people. The performances are good (especially from Mary Elizabeth Winstead and the amazing Lars, played by Jørgen Langhelle), that helicopter crash early on was awesome, and seeing inside the ship was cool, but the rest of it was a let down. It's a Hollywood mess, unfortunately. And I really wanted to enjoy this movie.

What did you think of The Thing prequel? A worthy, thrilling follow-up or complete disaster? We will remove any comments that indicate you have not seen the movie, as this area is meant to discuss the film only once you have seen it and can talk about your thoughts. Please keep the comments civilized!

Test out our poll for the movie above - vote for your thoughts once you've seen the movie! Trying this out.

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A noble effort. Yes it borrows heavily from Carpenter's masterpiece, but it hold it's own quite well. I especially liked how they chose to end the film. Great job Matthijs!

Stephen on Oct 14, 2011


Felt likeI was watching the 1982 version all over again theyshould have made it a double feature for the younger crowd.

Rsalkeld08 on Oct 14, 2011


TOTALLY FUCKING AGREE...both with you AND Alex. i think the movie would have been amazing if it was premiered as a double would be the first in a while

Jericho on Oct 14, 2011


THE THING is one of the best horror films I've seen in years! It's also the best Prequel I have ever seen. First time director Matthijs Van Heijningen does a pretty good job at connecting this film and the John Carpenter's CLASSIC 1982 film. Same goes for the authentic sets and musical score. Great transformation scenes that are pretty intense! It annoys me that 90% of the creature effects are CGI but It's cheaper for the studio so what can you do. Hopefully this will be a hit at the boxoffice so they can continue the story with a sequel. It's not better than the last film but it sure is Fun!

CrAzy Olyphant on Oct 14, 2011


I'm glad Winstead is getting praise.

Xerxexx on Oct 14, 2011


Yeah I wish she would take her clothes off. 

todd flanders on Oct 16, 2011


Such opposite opinions, I'm going to believe Alex. Thanks for saving me money.

Nate Carroll on Oct 14, 2011


Believe me, Alex is dead WRONG about this movie. I'm writing this comment 10 months after yours so you have probably seen the movie on DVD by now so you probably know this.

trob6969 on Aug 9, 2012


I'm a huge fan of John Carpenter's film, so I had a hard time not thinking about it during this, but overall I thought it was enjoyable. The acting was good and the creature effects were cool. I liked how they tied it into the original at the end

Anonymous on Oct 14, 2011


I chose to see this movie with the lowest expectations possible and just wanted to have some fun. The original is my favorite horror movie to date and  I knew there was no way this film would ever match the caliber set my the 1982 version. I emerged very pleased with what I saw, it was thrilling, exciting, and tied perfectly to the '82 film.

Armeetapus16 on Oct 15, 2011


I really enjoyed how the very end tied to the very beginning of Carpenter's The Thing, no gap left us to wonder, with the dog and Lars and other little things. I'm glad they tied in who became that two-headed thing we see at the beginning of the original. You can tell they didn't want to offend by getting all the details right, including the set. Winstead's performance is great. But other than her, I didn't care much for the rest. Not because of their acting, just the character. I just didn't feel connected to any of them. Some of the effects I thought came off a bit goofy and I thought people just died too quickly. The suspense of the whole "who is really who" was rushed through but I suppose they wanted to stand apart from the original. That being one of my favorite horror films, I always wondered the Norwegians' story, and now I know. Not something I would pay to see again, but I give it a solid 3 out of 5 stars.

Maggie Foster on Oct 15, 2011


It was truly a prequel... It was on par with John Carpenters version, The CG special effects  weren't the best they could have been, but if was just as scary as the original i saw in the theater in 1982.  I went home and immediately watched the Carpenter version on bluray  150" HD projector basement Theater and it was seamlessly done. Bravo!!! now I will have a "Thing" Set I can look forward watching again and again.  All the naysayers out there lighten up!  It was worth the money. and I never go to the movies anymore, but I had fun!

Bryant Addonisio on Oct 15, 2011


Reading this has made me feel better.  All the critics are ragging on it, saying it copies the original too closely...  and I feel fine with that.   I'm super excited to see it.

Chazzy on Oct 15, 2011


It was a really bad film. But then again what did you expect? Fox makes cheap films with 2nd rate filmmakers. 

Rp1n on Oct 15, 2011


It was made by Universal

Armeetapus16 on Oct 16, 2011


Alex said " the "test" isn't that great either, nor is it conclusive since it doesn't even "work" on half the people. "   I thought it is tad better than 1982 version test because it reveal the subject as either the alien or non-conclusive as alien. It helps heighten the tension. one group as human vs the other group indefinite alien. 

SowYau on Oct 15, 2011


Not as good as the 1982 version, but did we really expect it to be? However, it was better than I thought - especially after reading all the negative reviews. I was simply hoping it didn't suck - and it didn't disappoint. Held my interest the entire movie and was very entertaining. Liked how they tied in the missing pieces from the 1st one. Very good job!

Mitchexpress181 on Oct 15, 2011


I liked it too Mitch--again, it wasn't as good as Carpenter's film, was still a solid film, and it didn't wipe its feet on the 1982 movie.  It worked well as a prequel--and it held my interest.  The cast was also great. Oh, and in terms of the negative reviews....Carpenter's film received similar critical left-rights back in 1982.  I guess some things never change (no pun intended)....

Anonymous on Oct 17, 2011


Not the 82 version great but I enjoyed it. Some are being a little hard on it. It gives one there monies worth.

Anonymous on Oct 15, 2011


The credit sequence was the best part. The girl gets way too much screentime, and her story is vague.

Urge on Oct 15, 2011


I liked it a lot. Is it the original? Of course not, but as far as modern horror movies go, this one has a lot going for it: solid acting, a good tense vibe, decent effects and it folds in quite neatly with the original. One of your gripes is for the 'test', but I though that it's inconclusiveness was part of the tension, and made it feel more real. In the absence of a definitive test, this was the best that they could come up with under the circumstances, and it effectively narrowed the list of suspects down by half. If you can keep your expectations in check, you could do a heck of a lot worse in a horror film.

Anonymous on Oct 15, 2011


You said it, fazha.  Good points.

Anonymous on Oct 17, 2011


Rental. Definitely a $1 Redbox Rental. Save your money. I'm going to spend my money on some of the coolest games coming out in the next 3 months. 

FamilyGuy on Oct 16, 2011


Heck, I'm renting them--the games, I mean.  But I already put my money down for THE THING, and I wasn't disappointed.  Just sayin'.

Anonymous on Oct 17, 2011


i enjoyed because it wasn't in 3d 

Maxxx on Oct 16, 2011


I loved it. It wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. But maybe that's because I saw the original Thing when I was a kid. It's one of the best prequels I have ever seen.

Tyler Bannock on Oct 16, 2011


Did anyone else pick up on this one being a "copy" of the original? Very much the same, but on the inside, very different...

Shockwindow on Oct 16, 2011


I haven't see it yet but are you saying it is a copy of the 1951 orginal or the superior 1982 John Carpenter version?

Hatorri Hanzo on Oct 16, 2011


Hmmm....I'd guess it was the 1982 film, but that was a REMAKE (that word again) of the 1951 film. He is right somewhat...this prequel had a couple of similar "beats" to Carpenter's film, and the ending does tie in directly with it (but watch the credits to find out!).  But overall, I still liked it.

Anonymous on Oct 17, 2011


I thought it was a solid film, was very cool to revisit all those scenes from the Carpenter one, the room with the iceblock, the burnt two headed thing, yeah I had a lot of fun, it had some of those crappy cliches that kill such a great effort, but still was good, the test is very original in my opinion and gave room to more speculation and honestly credit to the director, even if he ripped off a lot of the Carpenter's structure, not everyone could have pulled that off like this guy did. It will never compare to Carpenter's masterpiece but man, movies like that will never be made again, the budgets that make possible a decent mainstream film these days, specially a creature horror one are huge and sadly Hollywood like many other artforms these days it's not vanguard oriented, it's more about profit, so I have to be honest and grateful that even with that profit mentality a few decent, good and great films come out once in a while thanks to a brave Hollywood mogul. Those Blade Runner, Alien, Thing and BTILChina days are gone. Long live MacReady.

hombreZOO on Oct 16, 2011


holy shit a poll.....what is

Croniccris on Oct 17, 2011


What's wrong with a poll? We've actually had requests for polls before, just thought I'd try one out... Is it so bad?

Alex Billington on Oct 17, 2011


Well unless your poll is made up, then it doesn't represent the true feeling of the film, most people i talked to and by reading these posts most people thought it was above average and entertaining, But inevitably you have the immature self righteous know-it-all's telling people not to see a movie. the Thing was well made, not perfect but by what standard do the naysayers judging by? The 1982 "thing"  has always been on my to 20 list of best Sci-fi movies, but for Gods sake I could rip apart that movie also, its all about the Suspension of dis-belief! This version was fine! There might be too many choices in your poll, 5 choices in my opinion might be enough.  "Just OK" and "Mediocre" is essentially the same and recommend or not is a thought. Thanks -B

Bryant Addonisio on Oct 17, 2011


Thanks for the feedback. So your complaints are that I have too many options and they're not clear enough? Beyond that, the voters are going to make whatever decision they want, we can't help that, and we have these comments for anyone who has more to say than just one word.

Alex Billington on Oct 17, 2011


Alex, the poll was all right.  I liked the film--sorry that you didn't--but at least you saw it before bringing the critical hammer down.

Anonymous on Oct 17, 2011


If the alien can't duplicate inorganic matter then how can it have the same exact clothes as the person it just tore to a bloody mess? Lol

Flo Bro on Oct 17, 2011


Simple: the thing doesn't have on the same clothes, it puts on other clothes that its victims own. Think about it: in neither of the two films there was never a scene that showed one of the thing's victims that was fully replicated grabbed and assimilated out in the open. The ones that were around to fool the humans were all grabbed in seclusion. So it all makes since for the thing to take the time to put on some of the victim's other clothes.

trob6969 on Aug 9, 2012


The new take on The Thing, as a prequel, delivers exactly what you expect. Extremely creepy creature effects, great sound effects, a sense of loneliness and paranoia. Great cast, and to be honest, even though it heavily borrowed from Carpenter's movie, it holds quite well on its own.

Lonely_spy on Oct 17, 2011


And don't forget--as awesome as Carpenter's film was, it was still mauled by the critics back in 1982 and the viewers left it to die at the box office.  Even though it's well-regarded now, nearly thirty years later, there still are a lot of people who haven't seen it.  If this prequel brings renewed interest in the 1982 classic, that will be a good thing.  And strangely enough, the critical jabs taken at the 2011 prequel are similar to the criticisms leveled at the 1982 film. 

Anonymous on Oct 17, 2011


Yeah I really enjoyed this movie Alex! tisk, tisk....

ha1rball on Oct 18, 2011


what happened with the girl at the end of the movie?

Joshster on Oct 29, 2011


I read all of the rants and raves and not one of you mentioned the biggest loose end that could lead to interesting sequel. At the end you see Kate looking with vacant eyes though the wind shield of the snow cat. We know it grabbed her and so much like Ellen Ripply peeking out of the side of her helmet fully knowing at the end of Alien that she was scant seconds away from sudden death wakes up our Kate has similar moment as the creature which is trying to capture her in the ship seems to fail and we her peeking with the same fear and anticipation at the thermo bomb laying a few feet beyond grabs it but the Thing pulls a little switcheroo on her and we see it come around and get her from the opposite side. So the director who borrowed heavily on the Ellen Riply persona to create the Kate character utilized the same facial expressions and same quick survival driven mind and reactions let along the scene where she is literally looking into the face of sudden absorption and lets it fly, leaving  what we think is the end of the Sander/Thing character. Now that I have spit that out let me return to the loose end of Kate at the very end before the Easter egg laden credits that lead into the John Carpenter film a fairly seem less manner. The director does not provide any answer as to whee our fair Kate goes after her ordeal. She is left alone and in the John Carpenters Thing we are left with Mac and Childs alone with the line "what happens now" and with each suspicious of the other drinking from the a bottle of scotch presumably till they both freeze to death. But Kate is left alive in the snow Kat and hence I already began to pen a sequel moments after the film credits of the prequel began to run. I think that might have been the intention of the director and production company when they got the funding for this film but the sequel would only be made if it reaches a specific monetary level in the box office and then in DVD and Streaming revenues. So how come not one of you mentioned anything about what happens to Kate. Carpenter is brilliant as are the special creature effects by Rob Botin who I understand is working secretly on the next phase of creature effects that are non CGI. So let us presume Kate makes it too the Russian camp in a very cold and  shocked condition but highly agitated condition. Thus we are left to believe that first she must convince the Russians that her story is plausible and then we have the potential of a sequel that could literally run parallel to end of Carpenters film. But this sequel I have in mind would take this film into the same pressure and paranoia that made Carpenters film work and this one merely hint at such. I think that something was cut from this film and it what the director and screen writer let the editor leave on the cutting room floor.   

Deaconblue2u on Nov 27, 2011


I mentioned in my comment that not one of you mentioned anything about what happened to the Kate character but I missed the last comment before my own, kudos to Joshster. I realize that I missed your mention of such. I wish you would elaborate on what you surmise could be the next direction Kate would take her world threatening knowledge. This loose end left me wondering so I began to pen a sequel. Only time will tell if my hunch is right or maybe I will send the director a treatment teaser. 

Deaconblue2u on Nov 27, 2011


Amazing write-up! This could aid plenty of people find out more about this particular issue. Are you keen to integrate video clips coupled with these? It would absolutely help out. Your conclusion was spot on and thanks to you; I probably won’t have to describe everything to my pals. I can simply direct them here!

cheap bras on Jan 19, 2012


I really liked the prequel. Actually, apart from the dog kennel scene in the original, I thought it was scarier. The original is my favorite horror movie so I walked into the theater to see the prequel with a very critical eye. By the end of the movie I was impressed by the attention to detail of the whole thing. The ONLY element missing that would have made the movie complete was the immersive, mood setting musical score that the original, as well as all of john Carpenter's movies have.

trob6969 on Aug 9, 2012

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