The Thing (2011 film)

The Thing
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMatthijs van Heijningen Jr.
Produced by
Written byEric Heisserer
Based onWho Goes There?
by John W. Campbell
Music byMarco Beltrami
CinematographyMichel Abramowicz
Edited by
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • October 10, 2011 (2011-10-10) (Universal City premiere)
  • October 14, 2011 (2011-10-14) (US)
Running time
103 minutes[1]
  • United States
  • Canada[2]
Budget$38 million[3]
Box office$31.5 million[4]

The Thing is a 2011 science fiction horror film directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr., written by Eric Heisserer, and starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Ulrich Thomsen, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Eric Christian Olsen. It is a prequel to the 1982 film of the same name by John Carpenter, which was an adaptation of the 1938 novella Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell. It tells the story of a team of Norwegian and American scientists who discover a parasitic alien buried deep in the ice of Antarctica, realizing too late that it is still alive.

The Thing premiered on October 10, 2011 and released several days later on October 14, 2011. The film was a commercial flop, grossing $31.5 million against a $38 million budget, with mostly mixed to negative reviews.


In the winter of 1982, a buried alien spacecraft is discovered in Antarctica by Lars, Peder and Olav, members of a Norwegian research station, "Thule". American paleontologist Kate Lloyd is recruited by Dr. Sander Halvorson and his assistant Adam Finch to investigate. They fly to Thule in an American helicopter operated by Carter, a pilot, Jameson, his co-pilot, and Griggs, a crewman. The scientists are met by station chief Edvard, Juliette, and Karl. After seeing the spacecraft, the scientists examine an alien body buried in the ice nearby, and make plans to excavate it. That evening, the new arrivals meet the rest of the base: Jonas, Henrik, Colin, and Lars' dog.

The next day, the body is excavated in a block of ice, which gradually melts in storage. In the evening, Jameson sees the alien burst from the ice. The team search for the creature, finding Lars' dog dead. The creature is found; it kills Henrik by dragging him into itself, spattering blood on Olav. The group burn the creature, killing it. An autopsy finds a metal implant of Henrik's outside of his body, and further that the creature's cells were copying Henrik's. Olav falls ill.

The next morning, the helicopter crew departs with Olav, for McMurdo. During takeoff, Kate discovers dental fillings near a bloodied shower. She runs outside to flag down the helicopter. When it attempts to land, Griggs transforms and attacks Olav. The helicopter spins out of control and crashes in the mountains. Kate finds the shower has been cleaned up and tells the team that the alien organism imitates its victims. Noting that Thule's helicopter is away for refueling at Halley, Edvard orders the team to drive to the closest base. Juliette lures Kate into an abandoned room, transforming and attacking her. Kate escapes, but the Juliette-creature instead kills Karl. Lars arrives with a flamethrower and burns the Juliette-creature. The team resolve to quarantine themselves until the threat is eliminated, and discuss scientific tests.

That night, Carter and Jameson improbably stagger back to the base, out of the cold. Suspecting them as creatures, the group isolate them. Thule's laboratory is sabotaged, and tensions flare. Inspired by her earlier discovery, Kate proposes a simple test: everyone must open their mouths to check for dental fillings. The alien does not assimilate inorganic or metallic material, and so people with fillings are cleared. The test implicates Sander, Edvard, Adam, and Colin, who have no visible fillings. Lars and Jonas go to get Carter and Jameson for testing, and as Lars searches an outer building, he is suddenly pulled inside. Chaos erupts, and Carter and Jameson break into the main building, shooting Peder dead and puncturing his flamethrower's tank. The flamethrower's leaking fuel meets its active flame, causing an explosion which knocks Edvard unconscious. When brought to the main room, Edvard violently transforms, infects Jonas, kills Jameson, and gruesomely assimilates Adam. The Edvard-creature drags Adam's body away, now part of its own body. Kate burns Jonas and Jameson before she and Carter pursue the creature, which assimilates Sander. The Edvard-Adam-creature attacks Carter but is burned by Kate, saving him.

An assimilated Sander drives off into the night, pursued by Kate and Carter. They arrive at the spacecraft which suddenly activates, separating them. Kate falls into the ship, confronting the Sander-creature. Kate kills it with a grenade and the explosion shuts down the ship's engines. Kate and Carter reunite. Kate notices that Carter is missing an earring he wore earlier. When confronted, Carter points to the wrong ear. Kate burns the Carter-Thing, which emits an alien scream, and she seeks warmth in a nearby snowcat.

The next morning, Thule's helicopter pilot Matias returns. Absent from the film's events until this point, Matias views the ruined station and the husk of the Edvard-Adam-creature with horror. Colin is shown to have committed suicide in the radio room, to ensure the Thing could never get to him. Lars shoots at Matias and orders him to open his mouth. Lars' dog, thought dead, emerges and runs away. Lars orders Matias to start the helicopter and give chase.

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