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I'm sorry to say this, but I am actually the Thing. I just can't hide that part of me anymore. I just can't. Now that that's off my chest, The Thing follows the story of R.J. MacReady (Kurt Russell), a scientist on exhibition in Antarctica along with a crew consisting of several other scientists. Just before being hit by a storm, the crew are attacked by two men on a helicopter who were led to their station via one of their dogs. This dog soon reveals itself to be an alien creature from outer space who's able to transform itself into a complete copy of another living organism. With The Thing on the loose, the crew can't trust anybody as for all they know, one of them may be The Thing.
John Carpenter proves to us once again that he can handle horror with his fluent direction in this film. Not only has Carpenter handled horror, but he has perfected horror. With films like this and Halloween, my review of which will be up later this week, there's just no stopping him. His direction in The Thing is practically flawless, managing to get the best out of his leads, particularly Kurt Russell. With this film, Carpenter does things that rarely any other director dares to, going so far as to lower the temperature of each set piece to match the conditions of Antarctica, or close enough to it. Carpenter also manages to capture the film in a way that's almost gorgeous. There's not really a better way to put how natural and capitulating the camera movements are in this movie.
This film can be tantalisingly terrifying, reaching levels of true terror. The film is absent of jump scares, minus one completely unexpected one towards the end and one rather bloody one just past the mid way point, and so it thankfully relies on tension to push itself to the finish line. Not only does it make it to the end, but it wins the race. Trying to work out who's the Thing is one of the most enjoyable and haunting aspects of this movie. It could literally be anyone, nobody can be ruled out. As much as I wanted to, not even good old Kurt Russell can be trusted due to the circumstances in which these characters are faced with.
That's possibly what I love most about this movie, there's no possible way to know what's going to happen next. Everybody in this film has some characteristic that makes them a possibility of being the Thing, and so the outcome cannot be foreseen. Without spoiling the entire film, when we reach the film's ending we're left with just one final question that requires an answer, but this is an answer that we simply will never get.
This film is practically perfect, but that's with the exception of the first half an hour. The first half an hour of this movie isn't necessarily dull, but it's just not as interesting as I wanted it to be. I was still invested in what was happening, but my curiosity levels were low. I wasn't really caring about what was going to happen next, but I stayed because I was hoping it would pick up once the Thing is introduced (and also because I needed the write a review). Does it? Oh yeah it does. Once the film gets going it's impossible to stop.
To sum up, The Thing is a truly terrifying film that relies on tension to bring itself to the finish line. With fluent direction from John Carpenter who goes to extremes to get the best performances out of his cast, particularly from Kurt Russell, The Thing is a must-see.
4 1/2 Stars