John Carpenter’s The Thing is completely terrifying, with body horror to the max. Kurt Russell’s R.J. MacReady leads the men stuck at an Antarctic research station whilst they struggle to survive ‘The Thing’ – an alien lifeform that takes control of its host and resembles them. So you never know who the alien could be and that’s where the jumps lie – who is going to be next? One of the most tense and scary scenes is where R.J makes the surviving men test their blood to see who is human…and ‘The Thing’ shows its true, bloody colours. Yuck.
John Hurt’s chestburster is the real shock in Alien but for scares, you can’t beat the tension and pure fear of the alien hunting down Dallas (Tom Skerritt) in the bowels of the Nostromo. We can see how close the alien is to him from what’s on the monitor but Dallas is unaware of just how much danger he’s in. And with a flash of video footage, he’s gone.
Oh Ridley Scott. Ohhhhhh. There was so much promise in those trailers and we were SO ready to be terrified again. We really wanted Alien:Covenant to, well, be good but it’s soulless with poor character development, too much alien CGI (which just doesn’t work) and nothing in the way of scares. Sad face xenomorph emoji 😦
There’s some neat stuff around the origins of robot David (Michael Fassbender) and why he likes to play God, and then we’re blasted into space with the merry (dull) crew of the colonisation ship Covenant. Billy Crudup’s Christopher Oram heads up the ship, with a new Sigourney Weaver heroine of Katherine Waterston as Danny Daniels (with Demi Moore Ghost hair), Michael Fassbender’s OTHER robot Walter, Danny McBride’s spunky pilot Tennessee Faris and various other alien fodder. The ‘neat’ (dull) touch this time is that the crew members are married but we never get as far as working out who is married to whom or who actually gives a crap about each other.
There’s some flakey stuff around Oram’s faith which is never fully explained, before he heads the Covenant off to explore a radio transmission from another planet which is wayyyyyy off from where they’re heading. After landing and encountering some pesky black weird alien spore stuff, a crew member is infected and we have a reverse John Hurt moment. Pity what he ‘gives birth’ to is so CGI and crummy – it really does spoil the moment.
There are three particular things to enjoy from the film; Fassbender plays a blinder as the two robots and when they meet it’s pretty divine. This movie is essentially David’s story and he’s absolutely chilling. Danny McBride as action hero is also something very special indeed – next time, next film, we want him as romantic lead. And Waterston is great as Daniels – kick ass and strong. It’s just a shame the rest of it is so shambolic.
GORE RATING: 3/5
Watch it for: Michael Fassbender’s dual role
Watch out for: Extreme backache
Danny McBride as action hero. James Franco as – he’s got to be, right? – alien nasty, nasty death fodder. Is Seth Rogen going to pop up in the alien costume? We’re very excited for Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant and it looks hopeful that we may be going back to dark roots and true horror.
Out 19 May 2017 in the UK and US.