This is not a sequel, but a prequel to John Carpenter’s “The Thing.”  It tells of what happened to the Norwegian base camp prior to the start of the 1982 movie.  And what does happen to the Norwegian base camp?  About the same as what happened to the American base camp in the first movie: a shape-shifting alien is encountered by humans in Antarctica, and very bad things happen.

The 2011 “The Thing” is a worthy prequel to one of the most awesome, 1980s sci-fi flicks ever made by suspense/horror master John Carpenter.  The score of the original is used, some of Carpenter’s shots where the camera slowly goes around the corner to peer into the next room are copied, and the overall feel of dread, paranoia, and distrust are also present.  The attention to detail connected to the 1982 movie is also impressive, allowing for a near seamless transition from one movie to the other if you were to watch them back to back.

But which one is better?  Of course it would be John Carpenter’s movie.  He’s much better at creating tension even when nothing is happening on screen.  The paranoia is also at a much higher level than in the prequel, which increases drama which increases the audience’s involvement with the movie.  Even though the 2011 “The Thing” is inferior to the first movie, it’s still well made and will satisfy sci-fi/horror fans.  There are many victims, great special effects, very violent and gory deaths, a solid story and good acting.   Plus there are no cute actors from “Glee” or “Gossip Girl” or any of the vampire/werewolf shows to distract the audience from the story.  Most of the actors are ugly, dirty, hairy men.  Nothing attractive there, so your minds are free to concentrate on how they will stay alive and fight the monsters instead of wondering what they look like naked.

My most memorable moment of this movie is the end credits.  Spoiler alert here!  Intercut with the credits are scenes where the last Norwegian survivor is rescued by a Norwegian helicopter; and both the survivor and chopper pilot go after the alien who has now transformed into a cute doggie.   This is an extremely satisfying ending for me, as it leads immediately into the first movie.   If you can, watch the prequel then the original — you not only get the benefit of a proper timeline, you also get to see the better movie last.