In deep space, the crew of the commercial starship Nostromo is awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules halfway through their journey home to investigate a distress call from an alien vessel. Let’s review Alien!
For most people, Alien was, or is, the best sci-fi horror film ever. And, I can understand why! For its age, the movie still holds up in crisp HD and reminds us why we love, or used to, horror movies- the suspense, the tension and the pay off!
What I mean by that is, the movie is a little slow at times, but for good reason. It all adds dramatic tension to the film and hypes you up for the climax.
The alien itself, also, is a masterpiece. You see just enough of it in the shadows for your imagination to run wild with horrific ideas of what it actually looks like. It’s the stuff of nightmares! Or it was. You know, in 1979, now though, it just looks damn awesome. Awesome, but not scary. More on that later.
In terms of impact on the cinema, this basically CREATED the use of suspense in film. More films have tried this, yet none quite as good as Alien has. The effects of the Alien, and the infamous “chest burst open” scene was really well done and looked bloody great! (There’s a pun in there somewhere.) This film was ahead of its time in literally every way possible.
The cinematography of the flick was good, obviously taken by someone who knows how to set up a scene. Ridley Scott did a superb job directing this cinematic icon! The pacing is perfect for the tone of the movie and the acting is pretty good. Some of the time.
Other features worth mentioning that are also good in the film are the incredible visual effects (bare in mind, this came out in 1979) and an extremely good screenplay written by Dan O’ Bannon.
Also, I couldn’t help not mentioning the scene with the chains and the Alien stalking his prey- a guy looking for a cat. On a spaceship which has a bloodthirsty ravenous alien creature onboard. When he could have just got on the shuttle and survived. But noooo, he had to get the cat. Anyway, as I was saying, this scene is handled exceptionally well. Despite the scare factor of the whole movie, there was something chilling in this scene. It’s one of the scenes that really stuck with me. Watch the movie and you’ll know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.
However, virtually no film is without fault- that is to say, a movie can always be improved. Alien, unfortunately, didn’t really scare me. Now, I can hear you going “well that’s because you’ve been desensitized by today’s horror movies.” Actually, no.
The only horror film I’ve seen is Woman In Black.
What does that say about the movie? I’m not sure, but to me, it wasn’t scary. Cool, intense, awesome- sure. But scary? No. Despite this, saying a movie which has superb storytelling, practical effects, tension and just an all-round great movie “isn’t scary” isn’t such a bad thing.