I decided to watch this after watching and enjoying Prometheus. I hadn’t watched it before since I was always scared to watch it as a kid. I think something deeply ingrained in me resisted watching it for awhile, like how I don’t like to look into mirrors when it’s dark.
I actually watched this back to back with Aliens, and so my review is influenced by watching the second movie. I will try futilely to resist comparing the two. The biggest thing that struck me about Alien is that it’s all about suspense. The story starts off with a mining crew awakened from long sleep prematurely due to a distress signal detected. They are forced to investigate by a directive which overrides all others–the search for alien life.
Of course, some of the crew resists this new objective, exacerbating the tension that has been created by their premature awakening. They were originally expected to awake when they arrived home. So the crew sends a team to investigate, and that’s when things go wrong. When the chief scientist disobeys an order to quarantine the investigation team, things just keep on going downhill.
My favorite part of the movie was the scene where Ripley confronts the chief scientist. The dynamic between them is something that carries over into the other movies.