Review by lou.
Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, members (Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup) of the colony ship Covenant discover what they think to be an uncharted paradise. While there, they meet David (Michael Fassbender), the synthetic survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition. The mysterious world soon turns dark and dangerous when a hostile alien life-form forces the crew into a deadly fight for survival.
Leaving the adventurous sci-fi atmosphere that Prometheus had set, Alien: Covenant allows Ridley Scott to indulge in, and return to the horizons that made the franchise so iconic. Terror once again reigns, but this time, its approach is different but still, quite familiar and gripping. It may exchange claustrophobia for a kind of horror that is akin to what we see these days, but still, it feels so right, and so good – leaving us stunned with a terrified grin on our pitiful faces. Shocking us from time to time with a brutality that tries and succeeds at being relentless and fierce, we in our seats, get taken to an intense nightmare that may very well be the unholy lovechild of H.P Lovecraft and the first Alien movie.
Grotesque, violent, genuinely harrowing – these are what envelop the world of this sequel to Prometheus, and it scarily furthers the steps that its predecessor walked on. From the opening scene, we ascend deep down into its dark heart that is only clouded with blackness. There is no light to be seen, as it swallows us entirely with a creepy smile that would continue to haunt our minds. Its characters are clueless, excited, and horrified just as we are. But unlike them, when we face the scariness of its being eye to eye, we achieve satisfaction – primarily since this was something almost not to be found in previous entries, and seeing it greet us again is a relief.
This element that was lost makes a very special comeback, but this time, it also keeps a brain intact that makes our hellish stay worthwhile as it boasts intellect just as it presents philosophical questions that even makes our skin crawl. What adds up to this is the maniacal return of David played by Michae Fassbender who, embraces us with an even more haunting appearance than we’d ever imagine him in. He’s the star of this morbid show, and he makes it very clear that he is the one that will keep us up at night, and thinking about the malevolent but stimulating nature and intent of his actions. Fassbender nails the role completely, and by at the film’s tail end, in him, some narrative smarts are pulled to remind us that what we are seeing is a full-fledged sci-fi horror pic. During those moments, it stares at as us with its pitch-black eyes so cunningly, and so devilish – closing the film with a twisted ending that flips the series’ tradition in hellish deception.
Of course, seeing the Xenomorphs bringing back the first film’s classic dread amps everything all up – even if their stalker-like nature isn’t much present, and is swapped to bring shock and not much awe. How and why they are created is revealed, and it gives us all the more reason to make us afraid of them whenever they lurk. The story of their creation is a curious insanity that is grim and disturbingly beautiful all at the same time, and it brings out the ponderous quality of Alien: Covenant that significantly shows how close yet so different it is to the original. But while there’s definitely an abundance of theological and scientific questions to revolt against our belief, and even if they leave a tingling sensation in our conscious, there’s still something lacking in between the corners of its tension and genius. From a storytelling standpoint, it offers a narrative that is so interesting yet still so non-succulent if you were to stray away from the frights. But even if it isn’t much fleshed-out, it manages to keep us engrossed, and wait for whatever it is that would pounce at our senses. Thrill-seekers shall be satiated, and Prometheus skeptics will be blessed, for Alien: Covenant revisits daunting, terrorizing domains that will seal you in, and will make you tremble and quiver.
- Alien: Covenant opens May 10 in Philippine cinemas. Distributed by 20th Century Fox. See it in IMAX.