Debut director Matthijs van Heijningen’s update of the previously twice-made "Thing" horror movies is a completely respectable effort in spite of everything you’ve heard or read otherwise. Critics and audience members pretending that John Carpenter's 1982 version is better, or scarier, than Heijningen's film are in for a painful revelation if they ever take the time to actually compare the films in close succession. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is a comely improvement over Kurt Russell as the story's protagonist. Winstead plays do-it-all paleontologist Dr. Kate Lloyd. Kate gets the call-up to travel to Antarctica after a determined Dr. Sander Halvorson (Ulrich Thomsen) discovers an alien monster frozen in the ice. As with the Carpenter version, this gruesome looking Thing has the ability to infect the DNA of humans to explode spleens-a-go-go with a tentacled fury that is not something to look at on a full stomach. Winstead carries her character's sexy-librarian-hotness with cool restraint. She has no problem getting down and dirty with a flame-thrower when the time comes. The redoubtable Joel Edgerton ("Warrior") does his part to destroy the multiplying thing as helicopter pilot Braxton Carter. Better paced than Carpenter’s film and just as gory, this one has a much better double climax. Even with its plot holes this is an enjoyable monster movie that gets the job done. If you’re a fan of the genre, ignore the negative reviews and go have a blast at the cinema with this well-made picture that features an ass-kicking chic who can really go nine rounds with your worst nightmare.
Rated R. 102 mins. (B) (Three Stars - out of five/no halves)
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