IN 1982, John Carpenter directed the science-fiction horror The Thing which imagined a violent battle between humans and a parasitic life form with the ability to clone its prey.
This prequel is also – bemusingly – a remake of its more accomplished and scarier predecessor.
The film unfolds predominantly in Antarctica where an alien beastie runs amok, slaughtering most of the cast.
While it has a higher body count and lashings of gore, the prequel lacks the earlier film’s suffocating tension, visual invention and skin-crawling scares.
We second-guess and correctly anticipate the twists and turns before the final showdown.
Medical officer Dr Sander Halvorson (Ulrich Thomsen) and research assistant Adam Finch (Eric Christian Olsen) invite palaeontologist Dr Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) to join them at a dig close to the South Pole.
“There’s a structure and a specimen. That’s all I can tell you,” says Adam enigmatically.
Kate joins the expedition under station commander Edvard Wolner (Trond Espen Seim), who eventually reveals a crash-landed alien craft and the corpse of a creature entombed in the ice.
Halvorson wants to harvest a sample of the creature’s DNA and when Kate dares to question his approach, he replies, “You’re not here to think. You’re here to get that thing safely out of the ice!”
Sure enough, the creature goes on the rampage. “This thing can and probably has replicated a person,” warns Kate, looking nervously at the people around her.
Paranoia turns the team members against one another and Kate dons a flamethrower to fight the otherworldly terror with fire.
The film is a competent amalgamation of past and present, fusing 21st Century make-up and digital effects with a storyline that dovetails neatly with Carpenter’s blood-soaked expedition.
Set pieces are confident but there’s no suspense and we can guess the survivors and who will be revealed as the next alien doppelganger.