Picks and Pans Review: The Thing
A 12-man American research team in Antarctica finds that a neighboring camp run by Norwegians has been devastated. Then a dog from the deserted camp starts to run amok. Pretty soon some kind of monstrous force begins to invade the Americans' bodies. Yes, from there in the ice emerges a new version of the 1951 thriller of the same title. Both films are based on John W. Campbell Jr.'s 1938 science fiction story Who Goes There? This one is directed, at an admirably taut pace, by John (Escape From New York) Carpenter. He makes effective use of his chilling locations (in Alaska and Canada), as well as special-effects makeup by Rob (The Howling) Bottin and Ennio Morricone's subtle, doom-announcing synthesizer score. Kurt Russell plays the laconic hero, a role that did not make Kenneth Tobey the biggest of stars in the first version. If it's heavy thinking you're after, seek elsewhere. This, though, is high-grade horror; Carpenter delivers his scares. (R)
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