Friday, October 14, 2011

Trapped with Norwegian dudes

Trapped on a research station during a blizzard in the Antarctic along with a small handful of fellow shut-ins, one or more of whom may not be what they appear to be. The Thing (2011), as did its previous two makes explores human paranoia in a castaway society, where predator and prey switch roles in a heartbeat.

A movie like this relies on constantly rising tension, building up moments of anticipation which it does quite well initially, both in the surprising attacks by the predator and by what human beings will do to each other when they're terrified out of their wits.

However, once the Thing has fully revealed itself, the tension drops off somewhat as it becomes a game of cat-and-mouse, with both parties equally capable of putting the hurt on each other. The cast list also suffers from having one too many Olafs -- Norwegian dudes who aren't so distinct from each other that it's hard to keep track of who's who before they fall victim to the madness of an alien first contact gone terribly wrong.

When the Thing starts rampaging around like a bull in a China shop, that's pretty much the end of the tension, turning a horror classic into something of an action movie with the diminutive character of Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) being the quick-thinking survivalist who makes it to the end (eh, that's not really a spoiler, is it?).

But it's during the scenes interspersed with the closing credits that all the clues start falling into place, and the significance of the events that had just taken place is revealed. Because it was hidden in plain sight, the last surprise was for me the biggest surprise of all.

... wait. What? You knew it all along? Well, I didn't read the literature on the movie before I watched it. Who asked you?

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