Although The Thing is technically a prequel to John Carpenter’s 1982 film of the same title, it follows a formula similar to the original. This decision makes The Thing come across as a remake to audiences unfamiliar with the first, and a brilliant question-answering prequel for the fans. Those who consider it a cult classic horror movie will be completely giddy for the entire 103-minute runtime of the prequel. You absolutely do not need to know Carepenter’s The Thing in order to enjoy this prequel – but the more you know, the more you’ll enjoy it.
Both Things takes place in Antarctica in 1982. Starring Kurt Russell, the ’82 Thing follows a morphing alien into an American research base. Having just torn apart the inhabitants of a nearby Norwegian base, two Norwegian scientists enter the America base with guns a-blazin.’ The new Thing tells the story of what exactly went down in Norwegian base. The original offers a lot of insight into what went on there, even taking you through their burned-out camp, but doesn’t give you everything.
Sure, you know the fate of two characters from the Norwegian base before even seeing the prequel, but you don’t know much else. A lot happens between points A and Z, and because of that, the new Thing doesn’t suffer from the problem with most prequels – knowing the end before the film even begins. There is plenty of creative breathing room for the new Thing – and it sure knows how to use it.
The new Thing just might be the best-written prequel I’ve ever seen. There’s not a single slip of continuity between the two films. There’s a mile-long checklist of things that must happen in order for this prequel to properly set up the scenario for the ’82 Thing. Even the most knitpicky die-hard fan of Carpenter’s Thing will be blown away by what the new Thing accomplishes. It checks off absolutely every single thing from that massive list – and it does it with playful perfection. Just when you think the writer left a gaping hole between the two, he fills it. (Be sure to stick around during the credits for the biggest check mark). It even fills in blanks that you didn’t think needed filling in.
If you’re planning on seeing one of the two remakes opening this weekend, be sure to see the one that’s actually creative, entertaining and fun – The Thing.