And the main reason it's familiar is because it really can't help but be forced to essentially retread the plot developments of John Carpenter's 1982 version of 'The Thing'.
Remote outpost finds alien..........alien escapes and runs amok within the group..........all hell breaks loose...........cut to tie in to the opening of the 1982 film.
That's it's main problem, which is unfortunate because IF the other version didn't exist this would be more enjoyable. Because on it's own it's probably one of the better remakes/reboots of the horror genre out there. It has great production design and visuals, good photography, the cast is capable (Mary Elizabeth Winstead is very good as is Joel Edgerton in sort of the Kurt Russell role) and it's suprisingly well directed. The CGI beast can't compare with the practical effects of the 1982 version and let the film down at times during some transformations however, but where this film relies on practical effects itself, it's as good.
All in, entertaining, but still not quite as good as Carpenters.