Saturday, October 15, 2011

Horrorthon 3: Day Sixteen: The Thing (Matthijs van Heijningen Jr., 2011) – C

The sun does not shine, it is too wet to play, so Columbia paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and a team of Norweigian scientists sit in their Antarctic campsite all the cold, cold wet day. Kate sits there with Braxton (Joel Edgerton), they sit there, they two, and Kate says, “Oh, I wish we had something to do.” Too wet to go out and too repressed to bawl, director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. has them sit in the house and do nothing at all. But then!

SomeTHING went bump! How that bump makes them jump. They look and then see it crash in with a spring, the CGI-ing of The Thing. “I know some dull games we can play,” says The Thing. “I know some old tricks. A lot of old tricks, but I will act like they're new, John Carpenter will not mind the blatant 'screw you!'” Since there’s no one here to say, “make this Thing go away,” Heijningen and company get to stay in and play. He claims homage, but making easy cash is his wish, and he’s taking a shit on one of Carpenter’s most cherished. Exposition overload, no humanist recall, Heijningen is a hack – and lets everything fall.

And I say: “Do I like this? Fuck no I do not.”

Out of his box come Thing one and Thing two, so overblown and ridiculous, one wonders what to do? These things will bite you, they want to have fun, but as for Heijningen, well, he seems to have none. Kate is the leader, she knows what to say, round everyone up, and check teeth for decay. Fillings over feelings, the dance is inert, unless your knowledge is lacking, and you’re a cinephilic squirt.

Bump! Thump! Thump! Bump! Down the wall in the hall. The Thing morphs and devours so sillily, it matters nothing at all. Carpenter’s film trampled, what would he say? Oh, he would not like it to find his Thing this way. Fast as they can, a plan made by the crew, a way to get rid of the thing, some creativity is due. Nope, as it were, flamethrowers and a grenade, Haijningen’s film is a crock, though sturdily made.

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