Movie Review: Alien: Covenant Gets Psychosexual In a Bloody, Baroque, Deeply Weird Story | Arts
Arts
INDY Week's arts blog

Archives | RSS | Follow on

Friday, May 19, 2017

Movie Review: Alien: Covenant Gets Psychosexual In a Bloody, Baroque, Deeply Weird Story

Posted by on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 2:20 PM

click to enlarge Katherine Waterston as Daniels in Alien: Covenant - PHOTO BY MARK ROGERS
  • photo by Mark Rogers
  • Katherine Waterston as Daniels in Alien: Covenant
Alien: Covenant
★★★★
Now playing

It's generally acknowledged that the creature in the Alien franchise is the scariest monster in all of science-fiction cinema. Based on original designs by Swiss artist H.R. Giger, it's a triumph of sinister design—a Freudian nightmare of biomechanical sex and death.

Alien: Covenant, the latest installation by veteran sci-fi director Ridley Scott, burrows into the psychosexual roots of the monster to present a bloody, baroque, deeply weird story. A sequel to 2012's inscrutable misfire, Prometheus, the new film concerns yet another spaceship crew encountering yet another alien infestation. All the franchise elements are present: derelict ruins, extreme body trauma, a strong female lead, and lots of dripping water, not to mention other fluids.

But Scott switches things up by structuring the story like a classic Gothic horror tale, complete with direct references to Byron and Shelley. The story takes place in a sepulchral planetary necropolis that is among the scariest cinematic spaces ever conjured, right up there with Dracula's castle and Frankenstein's lab.

Michael Fassbender returns as the synthetic life form David, who's been stranded in the tombs beneath the city for years. Is he friend or foe to the marooned spaceship crew? That's determined eventually, but not until the lethal xenomorphs pick off the cast one by one, dismembering some, impregnating others. Good times.

Covenant is easily the best Alien movie since the first two, and this is the darkest sci-fi vision yet of our evolving cultural anxieties around machines and artificial intelligence. A persistent ambient dread hangs over the film like a sticky red mist, and you may feel it clinging long after you leave the theater. I had some pretty severe nightmares after seeing this one—but hey, that's how you know you got your money's worth.



Tags: , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Arts



Twitter Activity

Comments

Here's a shout-out to the dancers and musicians of The Bipeds who are not mentioned by name in this article. …

by The Bipeds on Dance Review: The Many Moving Parts of The Bipeds' 54 Strange Words Don't Always Perfectly Mesh. But When They Do, It's Spectacular. (Arts)

You probably want to refrain from using ableist language.

by vidvis on ADF Review: Pilobolus's Crowd-Pleasing Dance Is Apolitical. Unfortunately, the World It Inhabits Is Not. (Arts)

Most Recent Comments

Here's a shout-out to the dancers and musicians of The Bipeds who are not mentioned by name in this article. …

by The Bipeds on Dance Review: The Many Moving Parts of The Bipeds' 54 Strange Words Don't Always Perfectly Mesh. But When They Do, It's Spectacular. (Arts)

You probably want to refrain from using ableist language.

by vidvis on ADF Review: Pilobolus's Crowd-Pleasing Dance Is Apolitical. Unfortunately, the World It Inhabits Is Not. (Arts)

I love stories like this.

by JoeJoey on A Villain Burglarized All Three Ultimate Comics Stores Last Night (Arts)

Mr. Woods must have seen a very different production than the one I saw or perhaps he was having an …

by Amy Ginsburg on Theater Review: Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater's Songs Can't Quite Shine Through a Patchy Production of Spring Awakening (Arts)

Sure he could have said more. But his answers, while terse, were responsive to the questions. And I've done a …

by Donald Tepper on A somewhat less than intimate interview with David Copperfield (Arts)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation