Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt
Runtime: 1 hour 56 minutes
Categories: horror, sci-fi, space, action, franchise
Runtime: 1 hour 52 minutes
Release Date: June 22, 1979
OVERALL: Slower then many think it will be due to the sequel Aliens, but an incredibly rich horror story in space.
In deep space, the crew of the commercial starship Nostromo is awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules halfway through their journey home to investigate a distress call from an alien vessel. The terror begins when the crew encounters a nest of eggs inside the alien ship. An organism from inside an egg leaps out and attaches itself to one of the crew, causing him to fall into a coma.
I love the entire franchise, but to be honest up until rewatching this movie this summer (2018) this was one of my least favorite installments. However, after watching it as an adult (I had only watched it as a teen, or just post-teen, early twenties) I was always bored with it. I was wrong as I look at it now.
The movie doesn’t waste much time at all on backstory. You are given seven characters that fill specific archtypes. Instead of getting sidetracked Ridley Scott, Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett, the creative influences, focus on building a slow ratcheting tension. For the first time I was able to fully gain an understanding of why it was so popular. It was the reason so many other movies have copied it.
The action and suspense are excellently directed and acted. Scott picked the best people I could imagine for each of the roles, and while he may have been unorthodox in his filming (he didn’t tell anyone that John Hurt’s chest was going to explode and an alien come out because he wanted a real response) he was very good at catching those emotions, the ambience. The sets while inexpensive were lit in a way that covers most of the issues.
This was the first time that the movie didn’t seem like it lasted 9 hours long, but that it was over almost too quickly. I can’t recommend it more for people that like a slow boiling horrorfest. I liked it enough I now own it.