Anthony's Film Review
Alien: Covenant (2017)
The next entry in the Alien prequel series is just as terrifying as before...
Back in 2012, Ridley Scott directed Prometheus as a way to provide a backstory for the Alien franchise and to continue delivering the heart-stopping chills the series is known for. That movie did a good job establishing the beginning, and it's good enough for another movie to continue the story. Alien: Covenant, which takes place a decade after Prometheus and features a new space crew, not only continues the story, but also does it just as well as Prometheus, such that we can anticipate the ultimate connection between the two parts of the Alien series. And before I forget, this movie is as scary as you'd expect an Alien movie to be.
The story of Alien: Covenant follows a plot formula familiar to Alien fans: a spaceship crew goes out to investigate something, only to come across an alien creature that reproduces and grows within a host, killing the crew one by one in this manner. Here, the crew is part of a colony ship called the Covenant, which is transporting human colonists plus human embryos to a new life-sustaining planet. On the way, they intercept a strange human communications transmission and go down to the planet that is the source of the signal. That's where they have their first encounter with the alien.
Although this premise is familiar, there are a few slight deviations from what has been seen before in the series. For one thing, the alien has an additional way to infect a host besides the face-hugging method. I won't say what it is exactly, but rather I'll just point out that it's much more subtle, and the thought of it is frightening. Also, the alien grows rather quickly, such that it's already in its next stage of development after just a couple of minutes of the movie pass by. And the body count stemming from the alien's first appearance is more than one, not limited to just one. Then there's the way the movie finally ends. It is definitely unexpected, and I mean this in a good way because it really takes you by surprise.
The characters in this movie are great to see. Still, I want to focus on the two who deserve great praise. Michael Fassbender previously played the android David in Prometheus and reprises that role in Alien: Covenant. However, he plays another android here: Walter, who serves the Covenant and is designed to be more machine-like and less human-like than the David model. Fassbender's dual performance brings these two similar yet different characters to life. There's a nice scene where David shows Walter how to play a musical instrument. The later scenes featuring David and Walter, occurring as the alien strikes again, are also riveting.
There are just two words to describe the horror in this movie: terrifying and gory. This is the kind of movie you should not watch while eating or even shortly after. And it's certainly not the kind of movie to watch right before going to sleep. The various death scenes feature an alien bursting out of different parts of the human body. One victim even appears pale and has a very violent seizure before the moment of death. It is very obvious that Ridley Scott wants to scare the audience as much as possible.
With heart-pounding moments and a plot that goes in interesting directions, Alien: Covenant definitely appeals to fans of the Alien series and of sci-fi horror in general. It's so scary that even a guy like me who is rather hard to scare can feel uneasy and nervous. I'm not the biggest fan of the Alien series, so I can't say how well it ranks with the others. I can at least say that it's not a disappointing Alien movie, because Ridley Scott, who first scared us back in 1979 with the first Alien movie, hasn't lost his touch even after 38 years.
For more information about Alien: Covenant, visit the Internet Movie Database.