Aliens (1986) Horror Movie Review
Written By: CM
Director: James Cameron
Producer: Gale Anne Hurd
Writers: James Cameron, David Giler, Walter Hill
Date Released: July 18, 1986
Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley
Michael Biehn as Corporal Dwayne Hicks
Paul Reiser as Carter J. Burke
Lance Henriksen as Bishop
Carrie Henn as Rebecca “Newt” Jorden
Bill Paxton as Private Hudson
William Hope as Lieutenant Gorman
Jenette Goldstein as Private Vasquez
Al Matthews as Sergeant Apone
Rating = 4/5 Graves
***May contain spoilers***
Fifty seven years after the destruction of Nostromo and the survival of Ellen Ripley, she wakes up from stasis to a new generation of people from Weyland-Yutani Corporation and people terraforming in different exoplanets. After Weyland loses contact with one colony, representative Carter Burke asks Ripley to join a rescue mission as an adviser. For the second time around, Ripley encounters her worst nightmares and embarks on another action-packed mission to survive in the middle of space and even protect a little girl along the way.
Just like the first film, Aliens (1986) is filled with ‘80s horror goodness. This time, we get a much closer look at the infamous creature, slightly better special effects, and a lot more blood and alien goo. The gore in this film is well-balanced with the sci-fi action elements. It’s not stomach-churning, but it’s definitely still disgusting. From dozens of decaying humans in alien cocoons to a whole lot more face hugging, this film still remains to be exciting when it comes to gore.
The Grave Review
Seven years after the release of the critically-acclaimed Alien, James Cameron takes over with an exhilarating sequel. Protagonist Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) has yet again inspired an army of kickass sci-fi heroines for another generation of sci-fi films. The spine-chilling antagonists, on the other hand, have returned to people’s nightmares once again.
There’s definitely a lot of questions unanswered in the first film. Unlike most sci-fi films nowadays, Alien didn’t settle for a half-baked origin story that seemed like an afterthought in the scriptwriting. Instead, the beloved sci-fi franchise trickled in bits of well-formed information and a whole lot of action. If you’re hoping to look for all the answers in this sequel, you might feel a bit disappointed. In fact, if you’re looking for an origin story, you’re going to have to wait until the fourth film Prometheus. Perhaps the best way to approach this film is to just buckle up and anticipate a lot of classic sci-fi thrills.
Aliens (1986) spans for two hours and 17 minutes and you won’t even notice it was that long. The film was so fast-paced and filled with twists and turns that it was almost too much towards the end. It’s exactly like a roller coaster; when you think it’s all over, it accelerates even more and you just want to get off. This is obviously not a bad thing. Despite the terrifying blood spluttering and close up shots of the creature, the true gift of Aliens is how much action they squeezed into a feature-length film. It’s unapologetically unrealistic with the amount of times Ripley almost dies while secondary characters die almost immediately. Watching Aliens will give its viewers a desperate wish that she would actually make it to the end with all the challenges she survived.
The addition of a kid, Newt, specifically, made this film incredibly frustrating in a good way. The film would’ve ended a lot quicker without the little girl’s constant screaming and need for protection. With Ripley as her primary protector, Cameron gave the protagonist a lot more depth, a departure from the firmly objective and stone-hearted leader we all admired in the first film. Aliens was able to make her less of a robot without softening her tough heroine persona.
The film is a perfect bridge between the golden age of sci-fi horror, the 80s and the early 90s. Aliens includes over-the-top monsters, a lot of mysterious goo (a definite must-have when it comes to ‘80s horror), and even a nod to mecha robots. On the other hand, it gives a peak of what’s to come in ‘90s thriller films—a touch of sappy backstories and subplots that will make you connect to the characters even more.
Is the sequel better than the original? It’s safe to say it can stand on its own, but Alien definitely has a lot more balance of realism and action that made it more enjoyable as opposed to the get-me-out-of-here feeling of Aliens. Towards the end when Ripley had to battle the last alien in a mecca gear, you might find yourself just wanting to close your eyes and make it stop.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Aliens (1986) four graves out of five graves.
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