The 1979 film, ALIEN, remains one of the most popular science fiction/horror movies of all time. It has spawned three sequels and two prequels. But, until recently, I hadn't seen any of them except for the original which was so disturbing it gave me nightmares. It's taken me a long time to risk experiencing that much dread again. But the excellent 79 year old director, Ridley Scott, who made the first film, also made this prequel, ALIEN: COVENANT, so I knew it would at least be worth seeing. And it is, but only for people who aren't turned off by gory violence.
Daniels: You've all sacrificed so much to be here and be a part of this thing.
About a hundred years into the future, The Covenant, a ship full of couples, is on a seven year voyage to a planet they hope to colonize. But mechanical problems cause them to be diverted to a much closer planet.
Crew member: This is wheat. What are the odds of finding human vegetation this far from earth?
Daniels: Who planted it?
Turns out the planet is full of a species of monsters that can enter a human body as a spore. After a brief incubation, a grotesque and hideous creature bursts through the skin of its unfortunate host, looking for people to eat.
That kind of terror is not uncommon in horror films, but what makes ALIEN: COVENANT better than average, is that an android who hates human beings is breeding the monsters. That android, named David, is smartly played by Michael Fassbender. David is jealous of his human creators and wants to live in a world of his own making. He's opposed by another android, a crew member named Walter, also played by Fassbender.
David: I was not made to serve; neither were you…. they are a dying species, grasping for resurrection. They don't deserve to start again, and I'm not going to let them.
Walter: Yet, they created us.
David: Even monkeys stood upright at some point…..I've found perfection here; I've created it: a perfect organism.
ALIEN: COVENANT offers plenty of nightmare visuals, well choreographed action, and a strong woman in a lead role.
I had to close my eyes at least half a dozen times, though, so I can't urge anyone to see it. But I also can't deny that ALIEN: COVENANT is a smart, well made horror film for audiences who like that sort of thing.