A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Thing -- which takes place slightly before the events of 1982's The Thing and includes some of the same events as the original 1951 movie The Thing from Another World -- has lots of strong, gory visual effects with terrifying mutations between humans and aliens. Humans' faces suddenly split apart, with teeth and tendrils bursting from within, and there's lots of shooting and even a gooey alien autopsy. Language is strong (including "f--k" and "s--t") but not constant. Sex scenes aren't an issue, but one character does tell a very dirty sex joke involving a young boy.
What's the story?
When a spaceship is discovered buried in the ice in Antarctica, Dr. Sander Halvorson (Ulrich Thomsen) summons top paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) to help investigate. The reason? There's a survivor, a creepy, dark shape frozen in ice a short distance away from the ship. Kate joins several Norwegian researchers in studying the beast, but before anyone can get down to business, the creature gets loose. Worse, Kate soon discovers that it has the ability to perfectly mimic human beings. Not knowing who to trust, Kate soon comes to a hard decision: No one must leave the site alive.
Is it any good?
Howard Hawks' The Thing from Another World (1951) -- based, like this movie, on a short story by John W. Campbell Jr. -- used a particular, unique style to establish characters and build suspense. John Carpenter's brilliant remake The Thing (1982) managed to be truly frightening while playing with a subtle social and political commentary. But this "premake" -- directed by first timer Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. -- feels like nothing more than a marketing ploy, a move to cash in on a familiar brand with no further attempt to make it relevant.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's gory violence. What was your reaction? Do you think that's what the filmmakers intended?
Is the movie scary? What made it scary? In general, what's scarier -- the things you see, or the things you don't?
One of the movie's themes is trust. Do you think you would have put more trust in the other characters? Is there any danger in trusting someone in real life?
- In theaters: October 14, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: January 31, 2012
- Cast: Joel Edgerton, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ulrich Thomsen
- Director: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 103 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong creature violence and gore, disturbing images, and language
For kids who love chills and thrills
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.