The Thing

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Thing Movie Poster Image
Gory remake of two scary classics lacks their bite.
  • R
  • 2011
  • 103 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 12 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The characters suddenly mistrust one another and are willing to take drastic steps -- i.e. commit murder -- at even the faintest suspicion. Despite their close quarters, there's generally a lack of community among them.

Positive Role Models & Representations

A strong female character takes charge for a little while, but even she shows signs of mistrust, suspicion, and selfishness.


Very strong, gory special effects. Since the monster is able to copy humans, viewers see characters' faces and bodies ripping apart in odd directions, with teeth and tendrils bursting from within. There are terrifying mutations of human and beast (one with two upside-down heads stuck together). Also, humans shoot everything that moves with guns and flamethrowers. Lots of blood on display, as well as charred ruins of alien bodies and even a gory, gooey alien autopsy scene. 


No sex, nudity, or sexual situations, but the movie starts with a character telling very filthy joke involving a young boy and sex.


"F--k" is used a few times, as well as "s--t." Other words include "a--hole," "hell," "damn," "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation), "oh my God," and "goddamn."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The adult characters celebrate by drinking beer and liquor after first finding the creature.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byShelfunit August 27, 2020

A decent Prequel.

Contrary to the CSM claim, this is a prequel to the 1982 classic of the same name - called such because, well, what else could you call it? It details the story... Continue reading
Parent Written byStepMomSterToo July 23, 2012

The Thing prequel Gory Monster fun

This movie does lack where the 80's version delivers, mostly in that the special effects come across as overdone. People die in ways that computer graphics... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byActionMovieGuy March 28, 2020

Best film ever

the movie the thing is about the thing that takes over people’s body. Very gory l, but some creppy transformations that for sure that kids 12 and under will get... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bythequestioner September 16, 2019

Disturbing and disgusting

This is an extremely disturbing film, with graphic body horror, violence, and jump scares. Don't watch if you're easily freaked out.

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.

The movie's visual effects, a combination of digital and latex, look good and manage to copy Rob Bottin's groundbreaking work from the 1982 movie. And by virtue of copying, the new movie manages to re-capture some of the same terrifying human/creature hybrids that caused such chills before. This movie also uses locations and timing to similar effect, but eventually it runs out of steam, forgetting all about the paranoia theme and ignoring any other potentially interesting themes.

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?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love chills and thrills

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