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Mike's Strange Cinema Cavalcade - THE THING (2011)

the thing 2011 review
Prequel to John Carpenter's 1982 sci-fi remake.


Review by Mike Vaughn

Directed by: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr

Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Ulrich Thomsen, Eric Christian Olsen, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

the thing 2011 blu-ray



Okay, confession time. The Thing (2011) is an underrated film. I don’t care how many horror fans hiss and boo me - I enjoyed it.

The Thing takes place right before the events of the original 1982 film and follows the Norwegian arctic team. They, as you have already guessed, discover an alien buried in the snow and must fight an unknown enemy lurking within one or more of them.

The Thing (2011) was doomed almost before it started. John Carpenter's '82 film is not only considered a classic in sci-fi horror (and film in general), but many tout it as the scariest movie ever made. It doesn’t help matters that the filmmakers just re-named it The Thing, further angering fans who might have already decided they didn’t want it.

the thing 2011 review

The director was tasked with not only trying to make the prequel step out of the Carpenter film’s very large shadow, but also please fans and general audiences. Frankly that’s a nearly impossible feat. And yes, The Thing has its share of problems. Chiefly its practical effects were ditched last minute for poor CGI. Seeing how the original is known for its incredible creature work, it felt like a slap in the face. It also has good ideas that feel like they could have been developed further. It also probably didn’t help that this was the director's first feature film.

[ READ MORE: Mike's Strange Cinema Cavalcade - Byleth: The Demon of Incest ]

Having said that, this film is way better than people want to give it credit for. The cast is great, featuring Joel Edgerton, Ulrich Thomsen, Eric Christian Olsen and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. It also has a host of great Scandinavian actors. It features exciting set pieces and from minute one the film wastes no time placing you right in the action. The discovery of the ship is a great way to open the film. Despite a nearly two-hour runtime, I wasn’t bored.

the thing 2011 review

You also have to give credit for the amount of detail that the filmmakers put into this, having to re-create the base from the first film (which we only see in the aftermath). We get to see just what caused all the mayhem. Little things like how the bloody axe got into the wall are painstakingly thought out and feel organic to the plot.

[ READ MORE: Blu-Ray Review - Leon: Directors Cut (1994) ]

As per the accompanying featurette on Mill Creek's disc, the filmmakers had no blue prints for the base and had to go frame by frame through Carpenter's film in order to get everything as accurate as possible.

Despite having to live up to impossible standards, and even with the film's glaring flaws, it’s a fun horror film that still manages to entertain, even if it's not nearly as good as the '82 film. Hopefully in a few years the film will find an audience and we can stop hating on it so much.

the thing 2011 review

I compared the picture to the previous Universal release and I am fairly certain this release is sourced from the same print. This isn’t a bad thing as it looks great. Sound wise it has a nice 5.1 track which highlights the soundtrack and wonderful sound design.

Curiously, The Thing was re-released early this year by Universal and now Mill Creek. The same features have been ported over with sadly nothing new.

Bottom line: If you don’t own this one already, it's under $10 and the picture and sound are damn good. However, if you already own it I would say it's not worth a double dip. What I love about Mill Creek Entertainment is that they seem to cater more towards fans that want to see the movie without paying for the frills. And while yes, I LOVE new bonus material, I also respect that not everyone is like that - some don’t want to pay more for bonus material.


The Thing is on blu-ray now from Mill Creek Entertainment.





Michael Vaughn is a rabid horror and cult fan who turned that love into a career. He is a writer, blogger and film historian and now author of 'The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema' which Shock Wave Podcast named their pick of the month, and Chris Alexander of Fangoria called “recommended reading.”


His other credits include Scream Magazine, Fangoria and websites like Films in Review and Bloody Flicks(UK). Please follow his Twitter @StrangeCinema65 and Instagram @gorehound_mike.




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