alien covenant scary

20th Century Fox has done a fine job of keeping the secrets of the recently wrapped Alien: Covenant out of the public eye (for now), but everything that has been publicly revealed have showcased a film that seems to be acting as a direct response to how audiences felt about Prometheus. Ridley Scott‘s 2012 prequel remains divisive and the public details about the new film paint the picture of a production that keeps everything that worked in that first film while quietly throwing away everything that did not.

And while Prometheus was bold and bizarre, it was never especially frightening, at least not in the ways that the original films were frightening. Star Michael Fassbender says that Alien: Covenant will correct that.

Speaking with Collider, Fassbender (who returns as the morally ambiguous android David in the film) explained that Covenant will be a scarier movie than its predecessor without sacrificing any of that sweeping (and expensive) scope:

This Alien is going to be… I’m very excited to see it and everybody in the film was saying this is a film that we all want to see. It’s much scarier than Prometheus but it’s got the same sort of scope of Prometheus. It’s kind of got more of the sort of thriller, imminent disaster feel that Alien had, so it’s kind of a beautiful meeting of both of those films. I’m really excited to see it, I think it’s gonna be super scary number one and then again with the massive scope of Prometheus… Once it starts and the ball starts rolling, it doesn’t let up. It’s really gonna bring chills to the cinema.

The original Alien remains beautifully simple: it’s a haunted house movie set on a spaceship, a slasher film where the killer just so happens to be an acid-blooded extra-terrestrial. If we judge it by those criteria, it’s also one of the best haunted house movies and one of the best slasher movies ever made, a claustrophobic and intimate nightmare set against a vast and mysterious backdrop.

Let’s be honest: there’s no way Alien: Covenant will feel just like Alien. The fact that it’s a pricey summer release means it has to have some spectacle and the fact that it’s a sequel to Prometheus means that it cannot, by its very nature, tell a truly simple story. However, it can definitely be a scary movie and since we already know it’s going to be rated R, we know that the sky is the limit when it comes to potential intensity. There’s no way Alien: Covenant won’t be a glossy and impressively huge movie, but it has that one major hurdle: how do you make a movie monster as recognizable and famous as the Xenomorph terrifying again?

We’ll find out when the film opens on August 4, 2017.

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