Directed by Ridley Scott [Other horror films: Hannibal (2001), Alien: Covenant (2017)]
Perhaps one of the most popular horror films of all time, Alien is a very solid movie, perfectly capable of satisfying most viewers with it’s suspenseful and well-acted story.
It is a wee bit sluggish toward the beginning, but the story is set up nicely, which additionally works out due to the almost-entirely solid cast of the film (the only performance I didn’t love was Veronica Cartwright). The story is appropriately claustrophobic at times, and due to some good lighting and camera-work, there are some damn suspenseful scenes.
Like I said, pretty much every cast-member is worth watching. Ian Holm’s performance is perhaps my favorite of the bunch (especially given his interesting character), but Yaphet Kotto does great, as does John Hurt, Tom Skerritt, and Harry Dean Stanton. Sigourney Weaver, despite being the cast-member with the least acting experience (if you discount Bolaji Badejo, who played the alien), gave the strongest performance, and became a character (Ripley) that is well-respected inside and outside the horror community.
Another reason why this movie really worked would be the special effects, which were amazing. The titular alien really did seem a nightmarish organism at certain times (especially during both the air duct scene and the finale), and even the alien planet the crew landed on possessed a creepy vibe to it. And the face-hugger, with the acidic blood? Fantastic stuff.
All this said, unlike other classics of the genre, Alien isn’t a movie I really grew up on. I’ve seen it only once before, and back then, I didn’t even care much for it. Now, having seen it a second time, I definitely got a lot more enjoyment out of the film, but it comes nowhere close to movies such as Halloween or A Nightmare on Elm Street to me.
Still, this is a classic of the genre, and while nowhere near the first science-fiction/horror hybrid (It! The Terror from Beyond Space from 1958 comes to mind, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers two years before it), it’s definitely one of the most memorable, and is certainly worth a watch.