by Adam Hyatt
The film opens with a chopper chasing a dog in the frozen tundra. They come across a scientific research outpost where the dog is welcomed but the people chasing it are met with hostility. Granted they were waving guns and shooting at a dog. But I wonder if the entire film could have been avoided if some of the people at the outpost spoke the dogs chasers language. The men thought that they simply went mad from being isolated in their snowy surroundings. The dog is placed with a few others at the outpost. During the night the dog split its body apart, freaking out the other dogs and then attacking them. It also tries to absorb the other dogs at the research outpost. In probably one of my favorite scenes in the movie they just shoot one of the dogs right in the chest to keep it from being absorbed. It was so gruesomely wonderful. They then blast it with a flamethrower, which turns out to be the main problem solver of the film. Figuring out that the thing could disguise itself as anything they realize that anyone of them could be it.
To test who’s who they attempt to test the blood of the entire outpost. When they arrive at the blood cooler they find all the blood ransacked an on the ground. This is fantastic because they all begin to turn on each other. MacReady gets deserted by one of the others and returns to the outpost nearly frozen and pissed holding dynamite inches away from a flamethrower. He decides that they find out who’s who immediately. They test their blood by sticking a hot wire in it. The thought behind this is that every part of the thing wants to survive and even the blood would try and get away from the needle.
It looks like most of them arn’t infected, which puts most of them at ease for the moment. Until a blob of blood jumps away from the needle which causes one of the men to convulse and become an unspeakable creature. The men sitting next to it screamed and hollered as they were tied up right beside it. After it eats one of the men MacReady tosses dynamite at it. They then decide to blow the entire place up. If the thing freezes it will just attack someone who would eventually come along.
My favorite part of the film is simply this back and forth between two of the main characters. They both believe that the other may be infected and instead of fighting they just sit and wait for the flames to consume them. A beautiful film from start to finish full of gruesome scenes. It also amazing creates a wonderful sense of isolation in an already isolated area.