Alien (DVD, 2007, Lenticular)
(68 Epinions reviews)
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The Radiance of Terror
Aug 28, 2001 (Updated Aug 28, 2001)
Review by The_Wood
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Sinister, visually repulsive at the same time being gorgeous.
Cons:Diapers not included.
The Bottom Line: Read Review
Alien is undoubtedly one of the best scary movies ever made. I think what makes it such a good film though, is how classy it is. It's not in your face and loud, it's quiet and subtle. Not to mention it's bizarrely ugly, while at the same time being beautiful.
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The film was directed by Ridley Scott. Ridley has quite the filmography: Blade Runner, Legend, Black Rain, Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, and this year's Hannibal. All of his films I mentioned I enjoy immensely. However, I do believe his masterpiece is and will always be Alien. Alien was Ridley's second film, but there's nothing sophomoric about it. In fact, it's one of the best acted and directed horror films I have ever seen. One of the only films that even comes close to the craftsmanship of Alien, is Carpenter's The Thing.
The film's cast consists of some of the industries most respected actors. John Hurt, Ian Holm, Tom Skerritt, Harry Dean Stanton, Yaphet Kotto, and of course Sigourney Weaver. After the numerous sequels, we all know that Weaver's Ripley is the star. When Alien first came out, no one knew this. Since the film doesn't really focus too much on anyone in particular, it's fair game on who'll live and who'll die. I can imagine the film's first audience thinking Skerritt was the film's hero, after all he has top-billing. When Skerritt's Dallas bites the dust, the film becomes even more terrifying, because you realize that no one is safe, and you realize the Alien is the controlling force of the picture.
Speaking of the Alien, which is perhaps the most grotesque and interesting creature in the history of film. There's a reason why Hollywood made four Alien pictures (all of which are quite fun in their own way) after all. With the Alien creature you have an assault on all the senses. It's a lethal beast with a weird mouth, acid for blood, and an amazing intellect. No matter how many films try, few are able to create a monster that is as morbid and gratifying as the Alien in this film.
The film is maturely paced. It takes it's time, and lets it's obvious sense of dread overcome the viewer before sinking it's teeth in. Of course the unnerving score by Jerry Goldsmith helps set the mood, and what about those sets! For a film that was made in 1979, the atmosphere that Ridley was able to create is frighteningly good and it bets anything that CGI can do.
The film's premise sounds like an unsettling nightmare. A spider-like creature jumps on your face, plants itself on you and won't let go. As it lays upon your face, it puts something inside of you. You are on a spaceship, that is the middle of dead space. Just when you think everything is all right, your chest explodes with a weird little critter popping out of you and running lose on the ship. The crew thinks they are dealing with a little bugger, but the creature has metamorphosed into the most evil son of gun you've ever come across. To make things worse, one of the crew members is a deranged cyborg, and there are no weapons on board. Now this premise has been down thousands of times since Alien, but no other film has been able to capture the amount of horror and sheer brilliance as this one does.
Alien is a creepy, organic, claustrophobic film that will never get old. It's one of those movies that gets me every time I watch it; and it's one of those movies I can watch at anytime. The film is the very definition of a scary movie, and should be seen repeatedly by all that consider themselves film buffs.
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