We’ve got advance word today on two films. One, the prequel to The Thing, is an object of great curiosity to many fans of John Carpenter’s 1982 film, which stands as a benchmark for practical creature effects. The other, Joel Schumacher‘s home invasion movie Trespass, which stars Nicole Kidman and Nicolas Cage, just seems like an oddity at this point. Surprisingly, the word on both is relatively positive.

First up: The Thing. Mr. Beaks at AICN got a review from a screening and so we can get a few thoughts. Keep in mind that Beaks notes this is someone who liked Battle Los Angeles, so let that be the benchmark of taste when reading the following.

Calling it a “well made, competent prequel,” the review goes on to call it ” basically a cover of one of your favorite songs from one of your favorite bands. It hits every beat and every note as it should but doesn’t really add anything new or different to deem it necessary or distinguishable. Yes we are seeing different characters at a different location but we’re essentially seeing the same events unfold not only that but events that we’re discovered and alluded to off screen in The Thing ’82.”

The review does say the film works on its own, and at a brisk pace, with a “carpenter-esque” tone and feel. There’s not a lot of mention of the effects, but the review says the alien is “as disgustingly terrifying as it was” in Carpenter’s film. Keep in mind that, with some time to go before release, things might still change a bit. But this seems to be a positive overall reaction.

And then there’s Trespass. Movieline points to a couple of IMDB message board reports — take these with a larger grain of salt than usual, in other words — that suggest the film might almost work as a violent thriller. The first review says,

Trespass preys on our deepest fears of home invasions . Schumacher doesn’t want to make us feel better about these things. In this Movie he is hyper aware of his audience and their expectations for such a film. And so Trespass is as much about torturing the audience as the characters [...] Trespass is one of Schumacher’s finest movies, The performances are outstanding across the board. The direction and writing are masterful [...] The title of the movies suggests a Thriller with a couple of twists, however audiences are exposed to disturbing, sick, survival ride.

Another review pushes the idea that this is a very violent film:

The violence is extremely brutal and unrelenting. The bloody realism may cause some viewers to turn their head. The film becomes more insane from this point on turning into a endless pursuit of cat and mouse. Some people may complain that the film contains certain plot holes. I felt that by director leaving certain things unexplained until the very end, it added to the intensity.

So… could Trespass live somewhere in the same neighborhood that houses The Last House on the Left, Funny Games and Kidnapped? No idea, but the idea of seeing Nicole Kidman, Nicolas Cage and Ben Mendehlsohn go through he violent wringer is, I’ll admit, somewhat appealing.

The Thing opens on October 14. Trespass also hits on October 14 (limited) before going to DVD on November 1.

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