What era is this film set in - modern day? Or 1982?
Just been wondering...
...it's a prequel ... so just before the events of the first one in '82
Yep. There's even text at the beginning stating that the movie takes place in '82. And there are a few instances where radios are playing songs from the time. It's a straightforward prequel, not really trying to fudge it. Except with the title, I guess.
It was a perfectly serviceable monster movie. There weren't really any missteps that I can think of right now, aside from minor plot nitpicks. The performances are good. The effects are pretty good in most shots, particularly in the first half of the movie. Once things start skittering up walls and such, the effects aren't as good.
It doesn't quite have the pervasive sense of dread and paranoia that Carpenter's version has.
Still, I think it's worth seeing as a matinee.