In 1982, John Carpenter gave us to his take on The Thing, inspired by John W. Campbell Jr.'s short story "Who Goes There" and the 1951 film The Thing from Another World, starring James Arness as the title character. Carpenter's film took us to new heights of paranoia and graphic horror. It received a chilly critical reception and was not much of a box office success. Fortunately, time has been kind to the film and it is now recognized for how good it really is. The double edged sword also made it an inevitable target for a remake. Not necessarily a bad thing, considering it was a remake itself. Well, fortunately, this is not a remake, but a prequel (that feels a lot like a remake). Is it worthy? I say yes, but the reaction has been rather divided on its merits.
When Carpenter's film opened, a dog is running across the snow being chased by a helicopter with men shooting at it. It was revealed that the men were from a nearby Norwegian camp which had been decimated by some unknown thing. This new film shows us what happened leading up to the chase, what, exactly, happened at that base? As this movie starts, the Norwegians are searching for the source of a signal, found to be emanating from beneath the ice.
A gigantic alien ship is found beneath the ice, along with a frozen alien body. They go on to dig up part of the ship and bring the alien back to their base, still encased in a large block of ice. Later, as they celebrate their discovery, it awakens and escapes. There is a made rush to find the thing. The problem is not so much that it got out, it is that they find it. The thing's tentacles snatches one of them and begins doing bad things to it. The humans, led by American paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), are able to stop it, at least they think they do. We know this is not the end, first because that would make this one short movie and second we learn that this thing is able to copy cells and look just like its prey.
If you have seen Carpenter's film (and you most definitely should) you know where this is going. While it may technically be a prequel, it often feels like a remake. A lot of what happens is very reminiscent of what has happened before. People become paranoid, some change into twisted, mangled forms of themselves with some big, toothy mouths ready to wreak some havoc on whoever gets in its path.