Sunday, October 30, 2011

Movie Review: This Thing, that Thing or the other Thing? And What Would Dad Say?

In honor of Halloween, I decided to slip away and catch a horror film. My choices? The latest installment of or the “prequel” of . I was not up for the throbbing headache I would have if I had to sit through another film using a hand held camera. So, The Thing it was. Waiting for the movie to start, I couldn’t help but flash back to the original Thing movie, the old black and white version with . I was just a kid when I watched it with my dad. Spooky, but the "oldness" of it all seemed too silly for my half grown child’s brain. And then there was the 80’s version, with Kurt Russell. Even too gory for my teenage eyes, and of course, “not as good as the original,” according to my dad. So, as the previews concluded, I found myself wishing my dad was still alive, wondering if we could have slipped away together to catch this one if he was still here.

Truthfully, we rarely did anything like that. Dad and I were always so “busy.” Now that he is gone, I would kill for an extra afternoon to watch some spooky movies on TV or even to head to the “show,” just dad and me. Such a silly thing to take an afternoon to watch horror movies. But it was something we both loved. We could have had so much MORE fun. Writing this is like the foreshadowing in a movie, “learn your lesson, or else.” I missed a thousand chances to have fun with my dad. So, Mom and I just decided to stop saying “we ought to…” and “we should…” and instead, we just made plans this weekend to have fun impromptu Halloween party. And guess what? My daughter and I love . So, I am going to bring her and her enclave of friends to the college’s “Holler for a Dollar” haunted village. We both love a haunted house, but she will be the last one out while I will most likely end up pushing and shoving everyone out of the way to be the first one OUT. Vive la difference, right?

Back to the movie. The movie itself resembled the Russell version, including classic 80’s gore. Not head chopping carnage, more like the face melting type. Cool, if you are into that kind of thing, which I am NOT. In addition, the movie jumps in so quickly, there isn’t much time spent on character development. It’s there, but it’s subtle. Horror is so much more fun when we know the cast of characters, like ’s caricatures in his 1982 take on The Thing. What I liked most about this one was the paranoia that developed between the characters. Now, THAT is creepy. I have to say, I stayed on the edge of my seat for most of the movie, even though I knew the MO by heart and certainly knew the outcome before the film even rolled. The protagonist was a woman, which was a nice touch. Another thing I liked about this Thing? It wasn’t riddled with people who had gotten hit by the stupid stick, which is always refreshing in the horror genre.

So, I guess I would call this movie a great early bird special, a real $5 matinee cheap thrill. I certainly enjoyed getting a few scares in for the big H. If you are heading to the theatre, prepare for seeing some decent CGI grotesquery, feeling chilled from all that ice and wind, and knowing that this probably isn’t a great classic for the ages. If, however, you are looking for an afternoon jolt, this could be the ticket. And I suggest, if you do catch this one, go for the double feature and get yourself a copy of the 1982 version to watch once you get home (available on streaming with Netflix). You will see it with a whole new set of eyes. It is fun to have the backstory on the opening scenes, like when they enter the Norwegian camp and walk past the axe. I won’t say another word; you’ll just have to check it out for yourself! However, I am guessing right about now my dad is rolling his eyes from the great beyond, between the grossness of it all to the female heroine (rue the thought). If he were here, he would be telling me to get to the video store and rent the original. Well, dad, you will have to settle for Netflix, but don’t worry, it’s in the queue. And in the meantime, I will be having fun at the haunted house and having friends over for a crazy spur-of-the-moment .

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