I strive to find positivity and good in every film I review. From classics like Phantasm and Evil Dead to lower end titles like Halloweed and the plethora of splatter gore borderline exploitation that is Troma, I find quite a bit of art and joy in horror of varying subgenres and production values. That said, I had high hopes for the triumphant return to horror that Alien: Covenant was supposed to be. If you haven't gauged from my tone then let me spell it out for you with a quote from one of my favorite film critics:
"It stinks!" ~Jay Sherman, The Critic.
I have tried to come at this from every angle. As a direct sequel to Prometheus it leaves so many unanswered and unresolvable questions. As a prelude to Alien it is an abysmal failure. As a science fiction adventure film, unencumbered by the mythos and prowess of the franchise it was a part of it's unremarkable and, as a horror film, totally unforgivable. The story is predictable. The crew answers the siren call of a stray transmission to find a world cultivated by civilization but completely devoid of life until hapless crewmen ingest spores that become "neomorphs" ripping through there torsos to become a bastardized cross between Slenderman and a Great Value brand xenomorph that can, somehow, be trained like a horse.
Yeah, it's just one of several underdeveloped or totally ignored elements of Ridley Scott's abysmal attempt to recapture the unsettling terror that first befell the crew of the Nostromo nearly forty years ago. But where Alien left some questions pertaining to the origins and evolution of the titular beast to viewers' imaginations, Covenant made hamfisted and incomplete attempts to fill in the gaps left by Prometheus. The horror elements ran the gamut from psycho killer cliche to isolation horror tropes in all the worst possible ways. Despite huge budget effects (some of which looked out right hokey) to stellar performances by Danny McBride and Michael Fassbender there was very little that could save this film from itself.
Test my opinion for yourself. Watch Prometheus, go see Covenant, then finish it off with the original Alien. Prove me wrong. I doubt you can but, come on, you know you like a challenge.
Dan Lee is a horror fiend and freelance writer with a special place in his heart for monster movies and demonic possession stories.