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The Thing

This rerelease gave me a chance to see John Carpenter’s 1982 sci-fi horror movie on a big screen for the first time, vividly reminding me how many impressive panoramic shots there are in a film I’d remembered as being dominated by action in cramped interiors.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the film’s more claustrophobic scenes: they give us most of the best moments in Carpenter’s tale of an Antarctic research station infiltrated by an alien organism, one that kills people in grisly ways, then assumes their appearance, making it impossible for the station’s inhabitants to know who they can trust.

The special effects can’t hope to be as creepy to our seen-it-all eyes as they were to the film’s first viewers, but we can still enjoy the monster’s unique weirdness, and the story is a rock-solid yarn.

One of its strengths is that, however panicked the characters become, they never do anything improbably stupid.

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