Thursday, 23 October 2014

Alien (1979) Film Review

 Fig. 1. Alien poster

Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) is a suspense filled rollercoaster, that grips and drags you in to the point where you feel as if you’re part of the story. Alien is a very well executed sci-fi horror that will not disappoint. Every aspect of the film works hand in hand to deliver a heap of suspense and jump out of your skin moments.

 Fig. 2. Breakfast scene

Scott does an excellent job at making you feel as if you are there, using a lot of steadicam up close and personal to the characters at the beginning, almost making you feel as if you’re part of the crew. To the extreme hand held shaky camera shots, that gives you a direct connection to the panic, the fear, the horror that’s taking place. The little details that Scott deals with during a setting that is so futuristic also adds to the feeling of it all being real, like the scene where they’re gathered around the table eating breakfast and complaining about the wages for the job (see fig.2.). As Tse points out ‘It was Alien's gritty realism, relentless horror and gradual pacing that made the film such an unforgettable experience.’ (Tse, 2014).

 Fig. 3. Alien still

The art for Alien is probably the reason that it’s stood the test of time so well, as Jones mentions ‘The top-notch acting (super-astronaut Sigourney Weaver) and imaginative bio-mechanical production design (with the alien created by Swiss artist HR Giger) succeed in flattering a script culled from many cult sci-fi movies, including It! The Terror from beyond Space and Planet of the Vampires.’ (Jones, 2014) the art amongst other things really help the film together as the narrative is very much an old haunted house style film. With clever use of lighting the alien looks real throughout most of the film, the only exception is when it’s ejected from the shuttle at the end.

Every little detail of the film has been designed in depth; it’s possibly that this is due to Scott’s previous experience in advertising. ‘Scott, a recruit from advertising, where instant atmospherics has to be the order of the day, manipulates his audience in a far stronger fashion than he managed with The Duellists.’ (Malcolm, 2013) Using his advertising background, Scott has a far heightened sense of how to draw the audience in. He achieves this by using clever shots and the use of quiet voices that make you feel as if you’re actually there.

Overall Alien is definitely a film that still stands tall even today, stunning visuals and a thick layer of suspense will leave your blood pumping.

Illustration List:
Scott, R. (1979). Figure 1. Alien poster. (Accessed on 23/10/14)

Jones, A. (2013). (Accessed on 23/10/14)
Malcolm, D. (2013). (Accessed on 23/10/14)
Tse, D. (2014). (Accessed on 23/10/2014)

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