If you ever want to put the blame on something for creating Alien Vs Predator: Requiem, which is literally two hours of your life you will be begging to get back, then I suppose you can pin half the blame on this film. But anyway, Alien follows the story of Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), a crew member on a space vessel called the Nostromo. The crew have been sent into outer space to answer a distress call coming from a planet they know little about. After arriving at the planet, the crew learn that there's no survivors, but what they also learn is that they managed to awaken an alien life form that has made its way onto their ship.
If you're looking to find the greatest sci-fi/horror movie of all time, here it is. Alien is, to put it simply, two hours of sheer terror. While it starts off rather slow, it's all about building up the tension and introducing us to the characters. We get a sense of who these people are and we start to care for them. We want them to survive. That's when we get introduced to the actual alien, an alien who is bound to be the cause of many children's nightmares if their parents ever dare to show this film to them. Once the alien is onboard, well, let's just say things get rather intense. How intense? Well I don't want to give that away, do I? I will say, however, that the birthing of the alien is just a taste of what you're in for, and trust me, the birthing scene will scar you, even if you know what's coming.
You only need to have a glimpse of the alien to know that things aren't going to end well. The design of the creature is terrifying, yet it's done in an almost beautiful way. Is it weird to call this mass murdering and rather terrifying creature beautiful? It probably is, but it's true. There's so many rich and vibrant details transfixed into the alien's slimy surface, each layer adding another reason to fear this creature. And this is just the design, too. Just wait until you hear that bastard speak, or, really, hear it hiss. When you hear this hiss, there's no point in running. It's after you.
Alien is set in the most perfect environment too, this location constantly teasing us with scares that are bound to occur. This first movie takes place in essentially just one location, with the exception of a sequence where some of the crew search the planet towards the start of the film. Other than that, we start on the ship and we end on the ship. This ship is no ordinary ship either, if space ships can even be considered ordinary. There's a tonne of dark, winding corridors or small compartments to hide in or narrow hallways to run down, all of which are used to create the ultimate scares.
Sigourney Weaver, who is in one of her first starring roles, gives her best performance to date, the only one coming nearly as close being Aliens, the sequel that came out seven whole years later. Now, we're talking about a phenomenal actress here and so when I say that this is her best performance, I really mean it. It truly is spectacular. She can convey the seriousness of the film, as well as the horror aspects. She makes this rather implausible creature feel alive and terrifying, only to do the complete opposite when it comes to Alien Resurrection, the fourth film in the series, but that's best left unmentioned.
To sum up, Alien is one of the most truly terrifying science fiction movies of all time, effectively using the design of the alien, its slow pace and haunting locations, plus it also features a career defining performance from Sigourney Weaver.