REVIEW | ‘Alien: Covenant’ is a gripping thriller for the horror sci-fi lover

May 30, 2017 - 7:45 PM
Billy Crudup and Michael Fassbender in 'Alien: Covenant.'

The first movie in the “Alien” franchise was shown in 1979. Directed by Ridley Scott, “Alien” was arguably one of the more spine-tingling films of its time. It was such a memorable horror sci-fi flick, one that made Sigourney Weaver a household name and whoever saw it feared the existence of alien life forms in outer space.

Weaver stayed throughout all three succeeding films but Scott did not. It took a long time and a prequel for Scott to direct an “Alien” film again, and this was “Prometheus,” which was shown in 2012. “Alien: Covenant” is set 10 years after the “Prometheus” mission and somewhere towards the tail end of the film explains what happened to Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and David (Michael Fassbender), the android butler of the mission.

“Alien: Covenant,” only the third “Alien” film directed by Scott in the franchise, is probably the one die-hard “Alien” fans have been waiting for.

“Covenant” does well in startling, and scaring the viewers to an extent. It’s closer to the first “Alien” film, fear factor wise. You have your vicious, merciless creatures: Chestbursters and Facehuggers, Xenomorphs and even the Neomorph—out to body-snatch, consume and kill every member of the crew. It is intense when it wants to be; which is about 80 percent of the film.

In between serious discussions and arguments, and occasional quips among crew members; as well as light doses of grief-induced drama and a sexy shower scene, what you see is a gripping suspense thriller for the horror sci-fi lover. Ridley Scott hasn’t lost his sci-fi touch—something he proved last year with “The Martian.”

The film stirs the same brand of fear you get from the first ever “Alien” film. There is enough blood, gore, acid and mutilated body parts to go around for everyone who’s watching. What it lacks though is an unforgettable protagonist—as was the case with Ellen Ripley, Sigourney Weaver’s character.

Although Katherine Waterston as Daniels Branson is effective as the grieving wife of the deceased ship captain and as a resilient survivor, her character isn’t quite as remarkable to warrant another series of films.

The most chilling aspect of the film isn’t the existence of those hideous extraterrestrials; and the most hideous creature isn’t the Xenomorph or Chestburster.

Michael Fassbender returns to “Alien: Covenant” as Walter, an upgraded version of David; and as David himself. It’s amusing to watch Fassbender portray two characters that are so similar yet so different, representing two opposing sides—good and evil.

Despite stoic facial expressions and lines that only show a hint of emotion, David is the most hideous, detestable character of all –an absolute evil on a relentless quest to perpetuate the unthinkable and extinguish the human race. And the most chilling part of the film? Evil wins.