Alien begins rather quietly. We see the interiors of a ship that is floating through space. It comes to life and we meet a crew…space truckers, so to speak. We do not know much about what they are hauling, though it does not matter much. We get that these are working class joes. This is not Star Trek. The ship has awakened the crew due to a distress message.
Going down to the planet, one of the crew members is attacked by a strange creature that attaches to his face. And so begins a terrifying trip for the crew as they try to eliminate the alien creature that evolves to become a greater and greater threat.
Alien is a expertly crafted “haunted house in space” tale. The ship is vast, yet it has a confined and claustrophobic feel. The design of the sets is that of a blue collar environment. It feels used, run down. It is an industrial, a utilitarian styled ship. It was assembled for it’s purpose, not it’s beauty.
The alien ship is unique and feels remarkably unearthly. The pilot, long petrified is inhuman and ominous.
Then there are the designs of the creature itself. The work of famed artist H.R. Geiger, the alien (later dubbed the xenomorph in the series) feels uniquely creepy and unearthly. A hard shell, with acid for blood, it seems to exist only to destroy.
The cast is terrific as weary workers just trying to get by, but being forced to deal with something beyond their pay grade. Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley steps up to the plate to lead the fight after the crew takes some losses. At this point the game becomes more one of cat and mouse.
Alien is a film full of surprises and character and manages to stand up to repeated viewings. It has become a classic for good reason.