John Carpenter’s 1982 film The Thing is easily in the top five scariest movies I’ve ever seen. From the opening shots—a duo of Norwegian scientists hunting a loose dog for unknown reasons—to the mayhem that unfolds as an alien creature trickles its way through a Arctic research base—every moment in the film is dripping with paranoia and fear. Sure, when the actual monster manifests itself it’s terrifying. But even the quietest moments, when a tentacle or pair of slobbering jaws could snap out from nowhere, are equally creepy.
I guess that’s why not everyone is able to vocally approve of next month’s prequel, also entitled The Thing. Hollywood horror doesn’t play by the same rules as it did back in 1982—mainly, that there weren’t any. Take the Nightmare on Elm Street remake. The original was insane in its own right, but the glossy, music video-style revamp in 2011 lost something in translation to the modern era. It looked nice, but it didn’t feel like anything. Could the modern Thing be in the same vein?
A new red band trailer has been released for The Thing and it gives off a similar, albeit less extreme vibe. The design of Carpenter’s original film remains intact—this modern take revolves around the action of the Norwegians pre-helicopter chase/untimely death—but it’s a little more in-your-face-with-a-crazy-monster than the original’s hushed, tension-filled approach.
The film may work in its own right and that’s why I’m filing this under cautiously optimistic (we should be open to remakes after all). The talent is there, including rising starlett Mary Elizabeth Winstead and the intensity-guaranteed Joel Edgerton, but whether the movie can provide authentic chills is what it all comes down to.
The Thing hits theaters October 14.