Whenever horror and sci-fi movies are brought up in discussion, one of the movies that probably comes up the most is Alien by Ridley Scott. It’s widespread influence has spanned numerous sequels, spinoffs, and even a couple of video games such as Alien: Isolation. Having never watched any of the Alien movies before, and with Alien: Covenant now in theaters, I’ve decided to go give this series a binge-watch. Today I’ll be talking about the first one in the series.
The opening moments of this film introduces us to a mining spacecraft known as the Nostromo. At first , the ship appears rather empty since the panning shots inside the vessel appeared very bare and desolate, but we soon see that all of the crew members have just woken up from a long slumber from some sort of sleeping chamber compartment. They were supposed to arrive back on planet Earth without any hitch, but that all changes when they receive an urgent radio signal regarding some unknown lifeforms within close proximity.
After closely examining the mystifying signal, they travel to a cold and foreboding planet and find a dilapidated ship. As part of the group went out of the safety of their spacecraft to explore outside, Kane, one of the members of the crew, finds a lair full of alien egg sacs and ends up getting attacked by a facehugger (which pretty much leaves him in a comatose state as something starts growing inside his body). When the exploration group comes back to the ship with Kane in his current condition, Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver) becomes the lead of the movie. Simply put, she is not happy about Kane being back onboard due to the possible dangers that would come to fruition (which most of the other members are completely oblivious to).
For most of the movie, the pacing of the movie is quite slow, but I think it was put to good use since it really accentuates the moments where all hell breaks loose and sh*t hits the fan. What I loved most about the horror aspect of this movie was how it gives you a false sense of relief during one moment of the film, but then completely takes advantage of your sense of serenity by completely demolishing it without any restraint instantaneously. This was cool because the moments that instilled fear never felt formulaic and it gave the film a sense of nuanced unpredictability since it wasn’t reliant on jump scares; their were times where I wasn’t sure who or what I was supposed to be afraid of.
As for Sigourney Weaver’s performance as Ripley, I thought she’s a great lead in this movie. What’s interesting to know is that this was actually her very first major role as an actress, yet the way she carries herself throughout the movie makes it appear as if she was a seasoned veteran in the acting biz. Also, it’s nice seeing a strong female role in a movie since I do feel as if a lot of female characters are still sort of seen as secondary or not as important in movies today.
Probably the most impressive thing about this movie is it’s visual effects. The interior of the ship definitely looks like a believable ship that a space crew would inhabit a couple of decades in the future. The alien design by H.R. Giger is also very iconic and nightmare-fuel inducing, not even the creepy crawlers in Dead Space come close to scaring me as much as Giger’s monstrosity (even though we only rarely see the alien in the movie).
All in all, I really enjoyed this movie. It is a genre-defying experience that succeeds with flying colors both as a sci-fi and horror feature at the same time. If you are looking for a movie with interesting lore, ingenious ways of arousing fear, and art designs that have withstood the test of time, I’d highly recommend Alien.