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The Thing(1982)

An American research camp in Antarctica receives a dog that is being hunted by a neighboring Norwegian team members. The ensuing hassle leads to both of Norwegians getting killed. What follows is a fight for survival.

This movie is one of the best horror/thrillers ever made. Its premise if very intriguing. Even the execution is very good. So an alien life form capable of imitation any earthly life form is found in Antarctica after the Norwegians dig it and its space ship from the ground . Until then it was Frozen and lay dormant due to cold weather . We don't know the origin of the Alien nor its purpose. We do know its primal because its actions are very methodical and system with no remorse. One of the best things about the movie is it pace. The structure of the story involves characters to go to two different identical places to piece together similar information. The Norwegian camp to find out what happened there and what they have done and the Alien ship site to find out what Norwegians have done. But the escalating events in the movie sort of make those two trips cohesive with the story.

The thing itself is very mysterious and the story plays off the fear of unknown. Characters in the movie are fully fleshed without exposition. The way they interact implicitly tells about them. At no point in the movie do we feel that its dragging. Events ramp up at a good pace starting with all the commotion with Norwegians shooting at the dog to the reveal of alien in the dog shelter to the visit to Norwegian camp site and alien site. Usually in cabin based movies the victims can trust each other but in this case due to the imitation capability of alien that aspect is lost. The movie plays with that quite a bit. The death of characters is not uniform and that increases the intrigue in the movie. One of the best parts of the story is when Kurt Russell is zeroing in on the alien it tries to frame him as the alien and almost succeed until Kurt Russell finally takes control of the situation and finally kills one of the members to gain control of the situation. What follows is a tense and suspenseful scene to ruling out which member is not the alien. This scene ends with more members being killed.Until 4 members and the main scientist are left. Even at this point the story has a very good pace. After loosing majority of team. They try and find the lead scientist to check if he is an alien or not through blood test but he is converted by alien and he attacks them one by one. The reveal of alien trying to build a spaceship to get out of the place also adds to the urgency of the situation.

The ending is ambiguous but the right kind of ambiguous. Some movies have ambiguous endings but they are too ambiguous and they kill the tension built by the rest of the story.Tension built has to be preserved in case of ambiguous endings or the resolution needs to be effective enough in case of definitive endings. This movie has the right amount of everything in its conclusion.The cinematography of the movie is awesome. The different colors emitted during various scenes is well done. But in the end pacing is the king in this movie. We know in movies like these there is an escalation. But the escalation should be measured. It can never be abrupt on continuous. You need pondering scenes before the next escalation. Gripes with this movie are minor. However at no point did I feel that the characters are acting dumb. There is also escalation in the way the alien tries to survive. Initially it tries to imitate all the dogs in the barn. But the process is too loud to ignore. So its process is revealed to the crew. Then it becomes a human and through the crews visit to alien ship and Norwegian camp they know that it can imitate humans. Then it tries to frame Kurt Russell and take down the leader of the pack. That doesn't work. Then it tries to build space ship because as soon as the lead scientist finds out the potential of this creature he cuts off all communication with outside world both physical and electronic. After that ship blows up, it tries to hibernate and wait for it to be discovered. But he cleverness in direction is the way in which certain aspects of its plan are revealed as certain aspects of its plan are kept from audience. So you are made to imagine what its whole plan would be. That adds to the ambiguity. The plans of alien foiled by Kurt Russell at just the right time also makes him a worthy opponent. All these make the movie intriguing and exhilarating. Even the production design is top notch. Its of course a big budget movie at that time. Its budget is 15 million. To put that in perceptive budgets of Jaws, Alien and ET are less than this movie.