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Monday, November 12, 2012

Alien (1979) - Review 31 Days of Horror #20

Premise:  The crew of a spacecraft come in contact with an alien life force that is not interested in a peaceful cruise around space.

Review:  So many things celebrated in pop culture today are just small snippets taken out of context and used to entertain for the passing moment.  There is one key scene in this film that has been parodies hundreds of times.  Because of that I expected to not be affected by it, but nope it still works.  Actually, as a whole this film still works quite well. 

The core of the film is simple and it works.  A story of isolation combined with the unknown; a single ship in the lonely confines of space - no one to help you, no one to hear you scream.  It is a setting that only grows more unsettling as the events unfold.  The film takes a slow approach to horror.  Often we sit in near darkness, unsure of what is around the corner or hidden in the shadows.  Unlike more recent sci-fi filmmakers Ridley Scott does not put the alien on display for the viewer to clearly see (as if we have not seen special effects before and are going to stand up and applaud the creation of  a CGI creature.)  Instead he does something more effective, restricting the amount of the alien we are able to see so we can create our own ideas in our heads.  You can only imagine just what it is that they crew is up against as it peaks out of the shadows and makes us feeling like prey waiting to be attacked. 

It is a well designed scare vehicle that does not rely on cheap scares to get you worked up.  When a crew member is laying unconscious on a hospital table with an alien creature grasping onto his face for and a good portion of the first half of the film, you can only guess what is going to occur, but you know one thing, it's not going to be good.

Scariness:              4.5 out of 5    It creeps up on you, literally.  Where do you go when there is nowhere to run.

Violence/ Gore:        4 out of 5    Some scenes become classics for a good reason.

Story:                       4 out of 5     More that it originally comes across - scary and satisfying.

Overall rating (as a film, not just a horror film):  8.5 out of 10

Check out the rest of the reviews for FilmSnork's 31 Days of Horror here. 

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