The Thing may be about imitation, but rarely has a horror film seemed so unique and fresh. The film begins with a couple of Europeans shooting at a rogue dog running through the Antarctic plains. At first glance, it seems odd and sad that two people would try killing a beautiful Alaskan Malamute, but the viewer soon realizes the dog will be sound and safe due to the Europeans' abysmal shooting ability. The dog works its way toward an American Antarctic research station and we soon realize the dog is an alien with the ability to perfectly imitate other life forms.
This is scary enough for me, but the fear is heightened due to the incredible score (Ennio Morricone). The layman may watch a horror movie and not even realize the sounds that are present because they are so cliché or overused. In this case, the mysterious and dark tones help to escalate the tension and mistrust generated due to the horrific events that begin to surface at the research station. This movie also shines with its ability to connect the personalities of the characters with the bleak environment. Antarctica is a tough place and so are the personalities of the crew. Some may view this as a weakness with the film. The apathetic nature of the crewmembers amazes me, especially when they see alien life forms and artifacts. If I was a part of the crew and saw a space ship, I guarantee I would have at least a little bit of a freak out. Still, this apathetic nature could be a result of the life the crew is apart of. If I was living in Antarctica, I probably wouldn’t be that personable or phased by much either.
If some consider a lack of emotion a weakness, then you will not be down for long due to the incredible alien designs that are a part of the movie. I dare say that The Thing has by far the creepiest alien design I have ever seen in an alien horror. Another part of The Thing that is so special is its ability to make the audience mistrust the crew almost as much as the crew mistrusts each other. There are theories galore online about who is infected, which gives this movie a bit of a mystery plot. No one can say this movie is one-dimensional; in fact, it almost seems like a very elaborate and horrific game of Clue.
The Thing is about as good as it gets when watching a horror movie and it ages quite well. A lot of people may think aliens are hard to relate to and can’t be truly scary due to their fantastical nature, but the aliens are undeniably creepy and the fear and mistrust amongst the crew makes every person relate to the tough decisions that must be made when fending for your own life. Horror island’s alien population receives a strong boost thanks to The Thing. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if we find out some vampires or zombies are actually the thing in disguise.