Antarctica, Winter, 1982. The 100,000-year-old crash site of a mysterious craft has been found by a team of Norwegian researchers. They have also found a being of some sort that has frozen under the ice some 100 ft away presumably while trying to escape the wreckage. Led by palaeontologist Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) they dig it out and take it back to base. But what they soon realise is this being is capable of imitating living organisms perfectly, absorbing and digesting its prey one-by-one in a horrific manner.
In this prequel to John Carpenter's 1982 cult classic of the same name, director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. tells the story of the ill-fated team of scientists who first discover the alien. In Carpenter's film, we are shown the aftermath of the site in ruins: buildings frozen over, dead bodies, and the thawed-out ice container where the alien lay before going on its frenzy. This film just fills in the blanks. If you're familiar with Carpenter's film, this one is rich with tributes to it almost to the point where some scenes are a direct copy, but there are some refreshing new ideas, and many questions from the 1982 version are answered here, but as a result, lacks in mysteriousness. Another reason for this is the updated effects. The CGI seems a little too fake at times, and because he has the technology and budget, Heijningen Jr. decides to show us exactly how the 'Thing' absorbs its prey. However, if you're not familiar with Carpenter's original its a decent, fast-paced and engaging thriller with some great suspenseful turns. Also, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton are a pleasure to watch - they have a good strong presence.
The only thing that makes this film a prequel is the beginning (the alien discovery) and the ending that involves a helicopter and a husky (viewers of the 1982 film will know what that is). Other than that, this is more-or-less a remake of Carpenter's film, and doesn't necessarily do it any better, however it stands on it's own two feet as a decent suspense thriller that is recommended for good old-fashioned horror buffs.
Thanks for the review. I wasn't sure if I was going to watch this for fear of the always menacing 'remake' tag, but I will be watching it now. Hopefully it does not take away from the original like you say.