Movie Review: ALIEN: COVENANT (2017)

2017 is proving to already be quite a year for horror/sci-fi films. When it was announced that there would be a new ALIEN film, a sequel to Ridley Scott’s 2012, PROMETHEUS, fans ranging from die-hard ALIEN connoisseurs to those that enjoyed the many ups and downs that the long running series had to offer, were excited and hopeful for the highly anticipated sequel. But would ALIEN: COVENANT live up to the hype that all of us fans were hoping for?

ALIEN: COVENTANT centers on the colony ship, Covenant, which is set to land on a remote planet to start a new colonization. While en route, they are intercepted by a mysterious transmission and decide to go off course in hopes that this new location would be the perfect start for the colonies new life. However, upon landing, the crew learns just how deadly and dangerous this planet’s inhabitants truly are. The film stars Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, and Danny McBride.

I’ll be honest, it’s been quite some time since a movie has kept me on the edge of my seat the way that ALIEN: COVENANT has. I would even go so far as to say a few scenes had me jumping out of my chair (followed by me laughing nervously at my own inability to relax). What makes this film work so well is that not only is it scary at times, but the storyline comes full circle to the point where it even explains aspects of PROMETHEUS in ways that the prequel couldn’t have explained. It also introduces the viewers to the origin of the Xenomorphs and facehuggers creations, which for me, was absolutely fascinating, and quite gory.

As far as the acting was concerned, everyone was superb, but I was mostly focused on seeing how Danny McBride would do in his role as Tennessee. Having been a fan of his comedy films, I was interested in how he would be able to hold his own in the sci-fi/horror realm, especially since he’s set to co-write the upcoming HALLOWEEN film. I’m happy to report that he was outstanding and made sure to ride that fine line between not being too comedic or serious. As for our main star, Katherine Waterston – who played Daniels, I enjoyed how fierce and in-control she was. I’ve always appreciated how women in this series are depicted with an aura of strength and bad-assery that not many sci-fi/horror films depict. However, as much as I loved both McBride and Waterston, the show-stopper of the film was by far Michael Fassbender who played both David and Walter. I do not want to give too much away in this review, but man did I love to hate him in this movie. He really stole the show and has become such an integral force within this new series that I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us in the next film.

An ALIEN movie wouldn’t be an ALIEN movie if there wasn’t blood and gore, and for those who are looking for some epic death scenes, you are going to be more than pleased with what you see. There were even moments during the screening where the brutality of the deaths at the hands of the aliens received a resounding round of applause from the audience. There is so much bloodshed and carnage, not just from the aliens, but by others as well. To have a film such as this, that’s so pristine to watch, shattered by gore and blood was a sight to behold. One of my favorite aspects of this movie was that not all the tension and fear was coming from the aliens. There is also the added threat aboard the ship and on the planet that is just as destructive, calculating, and evil as the Xenomorphs.

Overall, I thought ALIEN: COVENANT was a complete slamdunk of a film and it has become one of my favorite movies of the year. Not only is it scary, but it also sets us up for the next film in the series and explains what happened to those that were still alive from the failed PROMETHEUS mission. I loved learning about the origins of the Xenomorphs as well as the depictions of human struggles from the devastation of what they have endured. The cinematography is absolutely breathtaking as well as the CGI effects which helped to bring the Xenomorphs, facehuggers, and my new favorite alien, the Neomorph, to life. ALIEN: COVENANT is an absolute must see film for fans of sci-fi and horror so make sure you get your tickets early when it’s released on May 19th from 20th Century Fox.

Shannon McGrew
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