Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Dan O’Bannon
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt and John Hurt
This was a film that took me some time to actually watch and I think I was in college when I finally saw this film. I had seen the sequel to it and it was one of my favorite films growing up. The official synopsis of this film is after a space merchant vessel perceives an unknown transmission as a distress call, landing on the source moon finds one of the crew attacked by a mysterious lifeform, soon realizes that its life cycle has merely begun.
This is an excellent sci-fi/horror film. The film brings in a lot of elements and it works very well. You have the monster flick aspect with the terrifying alien that we are just given glimpses of, never seeing it for too long. You have the claustrophobic feel the spaceship with its tight quarters and nowhere to run, which heightens as the alien begins to kill off the crew.
We could almost read this is a monster/slasher film. We have the one creature that is picking off everyone one by one. To go even farther than that though, this film has such a gritty feel to it. Most films set in space have such a clean feel where this one we don’t get the idea of them being astronauts. They are blue collar workers and just give that middle class feel to them. That helps though when they make makeshift weapons in dealing with this creature. They also don’t have the military background.
The pacing for this film is great as well. I thought it was edited together in such a way to build this. It actually makes you think that something is going on much earlier than it is, but the alien doesn’t get on board until almost 45 minutes into the film. This helps to reveal the nature of every character before things get even more tense which I thought works well. We get a solid climax and resolution to this film as well.
Something else I like about this film is that every name is androgynous. Every name could be a first or last name, so I feel that the best actors were taken. There’s Tom Skerritt as Dallas. He seems in over his head with everything going on and it is just an interesting dynamic for the leader. Sigourney Weaver is a badass as Ripley. It isn’t surprising she created a horror icon from the role in this film. She is out to keep everyone alive by sticking to protocol. Lambert (Veronica Cartwright) is always complaining much like Brett (Harry Dean Stanton) and Parker (Yaphet Kotto). The latter two because they are the men keeping the ship running and are paid less. It really helps establish that middle class struggle with management. Finally there are Kane (John Hurt) and Ash (Ian Holm). Both has such great reveals that are completely different to build this story.
The effects of the film are great. They are done practical, which is amazing. This ship looks futuristic, but still looking beat-up as they are just blue collar workers. The look of the creature is amazing as they mostly keep it in the dark. I think that makes the viewer piece it together more where our imagination can make it worse. It is dated a bit with the computers that are used are much less sophisticated than ones now, but that’s a nitpick. The only computer effects are the destruction of the ship at the end, which isn’t factually correct, but it doesn’t hurt the film.
The score for the film is also really good. It just helps to build the tension for the film. It is also pretty iconic as well and one that I do tend to revisit from time to time.
I would highly recommend this one. It has such a simple story that is built very well in front of you. Despite it being set in the future, it still has characters we can connect with today. The acting does help to build that. The creature in the film is great. The editing helps to build this story and gives a solid payoff. Effects were pretty strong in the film as well as its soundtrack. This has aspects of being a creature feature while also kind of being a slasher. This is a great film if you haven’t seen it and I would definitely give it a viewing.
My Rating: 10 out of 10