Ginger Nuts of Horror
I’m Kayleigh, and a couple of years ago, this page started when I quite arrogantly boasted that I love horror so much that I can find merit in any horror film. The challenge that I posed to you all was to send me suggestions for films to review, and if I couldn’t find the good in it, you would win prizes. I got so comfortable in my triumphs that I even started offering consolation prizes for when you inevitably lost.
12 challenges later, I was still going strong. Undefeated. A champion, if you will.
Jaws 4: The Revenge? Sure!
Maximum Overdrive? Bring it on!
Cradle of Fear? No problem!
And then Justin Park came along and found a weakness. I foolishly let him know, when I thought we were bonding, that my favourite horror movie of all time is Alien (1979, Dir. Ridley Scott). He smiled a little. He asked me what I thought of Prometheus. I narrowed my eyes at him and said, “Don’t you dare.”
I sat there, in a stew of anger and emotion, recalling the abomination that is Prometheus. A movie that made my eyes vibrate, as they were unable to accept what was being forced into them. I’d awake from night terrors in which I was running away from a large object that was rolling in a straight line, and yet for some reason, I wouldn’t just run to the side. Relieved that I wouldn’t have to tackle this movie for my challenge page, I started to relax.
And then he said,
“Have you seen Alien: Covenant?”
Hey guys, why did the alien cross the road? Because Ridley Scott was trying to force in into a terrible prequel.
Where do I even start with this piece of s***? It’s set before Alien and is a sequel to Prometheus. The fact that it’s part of the franchise and that it was made by Ridley Scott, the guy that brought us the genius of Alien in the first place, makes this movie so much worse than it would have been as a standalone horror film.
We open in what looks like Purgatory, if Apple designed Purgatory. David (the android who goes nuts in Prometheus) is talking to his creator, Weyland (f*** you if you don’t know who Weyland is). Several famous works of art surround them. The creator is talking to his creation about creating things. Gee, how subtle. I wonder what the subtext of this film could possibly be. I wonder what the theme is. I sure hope they don’t bash us around the head with it later.
Then we see the infamous movie title appearing bit by bit in space, accompanied by the original Alien score. It’s almost like Ridley Scott was trying to tell us, “Hey guys, no matter what happens from here, remember that I made the fantastic original and therefore you have to forgive me for pulling a George Lucas with this prequel.”
We find ourselves aboard the Covenant ship, where Walter (an android and exact match for David, played by Michael Fassbender) is pottering around and checking on the crew, who are all in cryosleep. An anomaly occurs in space, which plunges the ship into danger, and causes the early awakening of the crew.
During the sudden awakening of the crew, we meet our protagonist, Daniels. First she is disorientated, then she is hysterical and screaming and having to be held back because her partner, and the ship’s Captain, James Franco, is trapped inside his cryo chamber and about to burn to death. And this is the point that I went from thinking, “Oh no Ridley, please let this be good,” to “OH RIDLEY YOU’VE F***ED UP!”
Firstly, plunging the crew into chaos and danger might have meant something if we knew any of them, but we don’t, so we don’t care. The only characters we’ve met are Weyland (never to be seen again), David (an evil android who we can’t identify with), and Walter (an android that we don’t know and also can’t identify with).
Secondly, Daniels is a screaming, hysterical mess and an insult to Ripley. You can’t help but compare them, and dear lord… how the mighty protagonists have fallen. Ripley would have been commanding the others and navigating Franco’s rescue, whereas Daniels throws herself on his chamber whilst screaming and crying and actually gets in the way of saving him. Not even Shaw from Prometheus is this useless. Goddamnit, now Alien: Covenant has made me find a redeeming feature in Prometheus.
Our introduction to Daniels would have been forgivable if it wasn’t for the fact that every other woman in this movie is also a screaming, hysterical, irrational mess. You can’t escape comparisons to the earlier movies and their tough, go-getting female characters because we’re beaten around the head with reminders of the original franchise, with everything from the soundtrack to the set design. The constant reminder of what this film is supposed to be a part of actually makes it worse as we go further in to it. It also reminds us that the person who gave us Ellen Ripley didn’t do it on purpose. Ripley was originally written as a male part, and nothing makes that more clear than the host of intentionally written stereotypical, screeching females in this movie. It’s an insult to half the population, to Sigourney Weaver, Ridley Scott himself, his entire franchise, and to horror in general. And also to films in general. And to the creative arts in their entirety. And to the entire world.
What was he thinking? Are we all being punked? Is this movie just the catalyst for some sort of horrible social experiment? I just… I HATE IT! I HATE IT! AAAARRRRGGGGGHHHHHH SJKHFJBDFJDSBCJEWBFHbwefhv hbefjheshfsajkhJBASJBNFJEWBRVJEHJ
I’m sorry. I get a bit upset about this but I think I’m okay to continue now.
The “plot” is an absolute clusterf*** from here but I’ll do my best.
Oram is now the Captain. Still reeling from their terrible wake-up call and making repairs to the ship, they notice that there’s an uncharted but perfectly habitable planet much closer than the one they were headed towards. Somehow, this planet had been previously missed. They wouldn’t have known about it had they not been woken up prematurely, of course. Since they have colonists on board and the crew are reluctant to get back into their cryo chambers, Oram decides to check out this out. These circumstances are so contrived for plot convenience that it made me want to rip my ears off, but this is one of the less annoying lazy writing moments, so I’ll just leave it.
The exploration team go down to the surface, whilst a few crew stay on the mother ship in space. Because the air is breathable, the exploration team just go off onto the planet without helmets on. Of course. This leads to a few of them breathing in the pathogen that causes aliens to burst out of them. But we still don’t care because we STILL don’t know them. I hadn’t even noticed at this point that the whole crew are in pairs, as couples. When I did notice this a bit later, it seemed really weird.
Turns out, if you wanted to get to know the crew and learn anything about them, then you actually needed to watch the web shorts that were released pre-film. Additionally, you need to watch the deleted scenes on the DVD to make sense of some of the questions that might arise. Yeah, good luck with that Ridley. As if anyone in the world is going to subject themselves to more scenes from this pile of crap. I have never in my life encountered a film that actually requires homework and extra credit tasks in order to understand it, let alone enjoy it. As each of the characters are killed off, you just sort of shrug and think, “Oh well, there goes another character whose name I don’t remember.” It’s just another thing to hate. I HATE IT. This movie is 2 hours of people whose deaths either don’t mean anything, or were actually deserved because of their sheer stupidity. What kind of motherf***ing space explorer just sticks their face in something that they were just told was basically a killing machine? Oram, you deserved to have your face hugged, you stupid bastard. I can’t believe this was the first guy in line for Captain after James Franco…. Franco, a guy who most recently made a film about the worst film ever, The Room, which is better than this festering pile of witch warts.
Anyway, I was writing the rest of what happens but I actually bored myself with it, so I’ve deleted it and the rest of this “review” will now come in rant form, structured exactly the way that my specific rants spring to mind.
David turns up and saves what’s left of the crew from some xenomorphs (if you can call them that). Long story short, he got to the planet with Shaw, who he used for experiments with the pathogen and xenomorphs, etc. She dies off-screen, by the way. If you actually wanted to see her, then you needed to watch one of the aforementioned web shorts. F***ing bullsh**.
And on the subject of David - an android who goes a little mad and favours the preservation of an alien species over his own creators - oh how original! I’ve never seen this before! Especially for an Alien movie! What the f*** Ridley?! You ripped off your own goddamn motherf***ing film, you derivative asshole piece of s*** I hate you.
On the subject of ripping off parts of the original franchise, what the f*** was that grabber machine thing that Daniels hit the xenomorph with? Ohhhhhhhh that’s nothing like Ripley hitting the Queen with the arms of the power loader in Aliens. *Channels Christian Bale* Oh goooooooood for you!
Oh yeah, and let’s talk about the Queen, shall we? Because this asshat of a movie has now ruined the xenomorph mythos as a whole. We’re actually expected to not only accept, but enjoy, the concept that David is, in fact, basically the creator of the xenomorphs. He’s been fiddling around with species samples and the pathogen and whatnot and created facehuggers. Only in this film, when a facehugger gets you, there’s no gestation period and the xenomorph is fully grown in no time whatsoever. So where does the Queen fit into this? Because those eggs weren’t laid, David manufactured them. This sort of ‘origin’ story was completely unnecessary and hurts the franchise because it actually makes the aliens less cool, less scary, and less mysterious. Ridley, your xenomorphs deserved better than this, man.
AND ALSO. I assume that Ridley Scott just went ahead and totally ignored that AVP exists, because David being God to the xenomorphs completely f***s up the franchise’s entire timeline. If David created those aliens as we know them in 2104, then how the f***ing f*** were Predators hunting them for sport for like a thousand years before AVP was set?!
And oh god, the Tekken fight between David and Walter. Were we seriously not meant to know that David won that fight and got on board the ship? Because when Daniels realises this and it’s too late, it appears that we’re meant to be surprised. On this topic, I get why David chopped his hand off to look like Walter, but why the hell did he also scratch his face? None of the crew saw Walter with that scratch on his face, so David must have done it for… our benefit? Brilliant.
Why did they make a point of Oram being a man of faith, when his faith is completely irrelevant anyway? By the end, we’d been battered with this idea of David as God, but Oram is nothing to do with this.
Why are the xenomorph effects worse than the 1979 effects?
Why would the ship’s medical officer go absolutely mental when faced with a medical emergency? Isn’t it her job to stay calm and think rationally in such a situation?
Why can’t the f***ing pilot fly the ship properly when Daniels is fighting the xenomorph? I mean, he’s not fighting the xenomorph, is he? The threat is nowhere near the cockpit, so why is he crashing his ship around like the alien is perched on his shoulders swiping at his face?
Why does no one hear Rosenthal scream when she gets killed? They’re essentially in a cave and it’s not like someone’s blasting death metal in surround sound to drown her out. In fact, they zoom out down a tunnel to emphasise the volume and length of her scream.
Ridley, I loved you, man. Why didn’t you just leave it alone? You’ve ruined your own mythos. What happened? Did you see The Phantom Menace, actually like that line about mitochondria, and feel inspired to f*** up your own masterpiece.
There were moments where I thought I could pull this back and save it, but I couldn’t. Anything decent in this film is far outweighed by everything horrible and awful.
Alien: Covenant is an irredeemable “work” of bastardy that looks like it came from the M. Night Shyamalan School of “look at all my deep meanings”, with a hint of Scott M. Gimple’s “ooh look at my arty writing!” technique thrown in. It is a fly that won’t die in the most delicious soup ever. It’s a scorch on the earth, and not even a cool one, like those wing scorches from when an angel dies on Supernatural.
Would I recommend this film to anyone? Not unless you hated someone and wanted to hurt them, no. I f***ing hate it. It’s been a fortnight since I watched it and I’m still upset and angry. In fact, I’ve never been so angry watching a film, not even when Anakin started dribbling on about his dislike for sand.
So yeah, you win Justin, all right? Congratulations. Thanks for bringing a movie to me that made me want to scratch my own eyes out. A movie so horrible that it hurt me more than my last break up. I’ve actually taken personal offence to it. It’s like Ridley Scott did this to me specifically. So thanks for that, prizes will be on the way to you next week. Merry Christmas and fuck you, sir.