10 Fantastic Alien Films, According to Rotten Tomatoes

I know that we’ve been covering Alien: Covenant like crazy on Dread Central over the past couple of months. It’s impossible to deny that the film’s marketing strategy hasn’t been effective because I’m sure that everyone and their grandmother is well aware that it’s coming out this Friday.

So instead of focusing on Covenant, I thought we might do something a little different and take a look at 10 fantastic or memorable (sometimes both) films that are based around aliens, whether they be friendly or intent on destroying us all!

To do this, I teamed up with our pals over at Rotten Tomatoes to get their thoughts and suggestions, while injecting a few of my own. Also, while we’re on the topic of Rotten Tomatoes, I highly recommend reading this fantastic piece by my pal Matt Donato over at We Got This Covered.

Rotten Tomatoes editor Alex Vo tells us:

After Georges Meiles took us on A Trip to the Moon in 1902, movies have helped reveal the world around us and beyond, to imagine what and who are among the stars. Ever since, the extraterrestrial movie has been a common citizen of the Hollywood system, starting with the 1936 Flash Gordon serial, then leaping towards the creature features of the ’50s.

On the cusp of the Moon landing, 2001: A Space Odyssey encouraged us to move fearlessly towards first contact. Star Wars, Alien, and E.T. made sci-fi movies pure fun again, playing alternately on our fears and hopes while generating box office for the genre. Today, the extraterrestrial movie is at its creative and commercial peak. They can tell the biggest stories (Star Trek, Transformers), the most personal journeys (Under the Skin, The World’s End), and everything in between (whatever 10 Cloverfield Lane was about).

Matt Atchity, the Editor-in-Chief of Rotten Tomatoes, adds, “The possibility of alien life has inspired filmmakers going all the way back to some of the first films ever made. Movies about alien life forms have alternately delighted and disappointed critics throughout history, and as far as Hollywood is concerned, aliens are here to stay.

So, without further ado, here are 10 Fantastic Alien Films! Make sure to let us know in the comments some of your favorites!

Alien: Covenant arrives in theaters Friday. Get your tickets now: fox.co/AlienTickets.

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial – 98%

The first Steven Spielberg film on this list, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is a classic sci-fi story about friendship and the lengths we would go to for those we love. Starring Dee Wallace (The Howling, Cujo) and Drew Barrymore (Firestarter, Scream), there’s a reason it’s so highly regarded.


Aliens – 98%

James Cameron’s 1986 sequel is considered not only one of the best sequels of all time but also one of the greatest films ever made. The film takes Sigourney Weaver back to LV-426, along with a squad of marines, to investigate the silence of a terraforming colony. What they find is far more dangerous than they could’ve imagined and it’s not just the aliens they have to look out for…


Alien – 97%

Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi/horror classic is the reason this post is even being written. Without this brilliant slice of space terror, I dread to think what the horror landscape would look like today. Alien may not have been seen as a masterpiece upon release but there is no doubting today how effective and impactful it’s become.


Arrival – 94%

Nominated for eight Academy Awards (and winning Best Sound Editing), Arrival was hailed as a thinking person’s sci-fi film, one that challenged viewers and placed far more onus on story rather than action. Philosophical, sophisticated, and stunningly executed, Arrival is a must-see film.


10 Cloverfield Lane – 90%

When this film was announced, it was a shock to the entire sci-fi and horror community. Not only was there going to be another film in the Cloverfield universe but a trailer was put forth AND the release date was only a couple of months away. It was a genius move that got people excited without requiring them to wait months, if not longer, for the premiere. What we got was a film steeped in tension and paranoia with an Oscar-worthy performance from John Goodman. While many debate the efficacy of the ending, it’s still a critically adored film that is well worth your time.


Predator – 78%

Die Hard director John McTiernan’s 1987 sci-fi/horror action film has endured through the years for a very good reason: it kicks all sorts of ass. There are memorable characters, highly quotable lines, a magnificent score, fantastic action sequences, and a villain that has become a cultural icon. It’s one of those movies that I wish I could erase from my memory so I could see it again with fresh eyes.


Cloverfield – 77%

J.J. Abrams high-budget take on the found footage genre is a polarizing film, no doubt about it. But I don’t think anyone can deny the scope and scale of the film, which has become the launching pad for a cinematic universe of loosely tied together films (see 10 Cloverfield Lane). Such a prospect in the hands of someone like Abrams is incredibly exciting, no doubt about it.


War of the Worlds – 74%

Spielberg returns on this list with his 2005 sci-fi epic War of the Worlds, his own take on the classic H.G. Wells novel. While some weren’t impressed with the film, none could deny the incredible production value as well as some truly shocking moments. If you need a big-budget alien invasion film that doesn’t skimp on story or humanity, you could do a lot worse than War of the Worlds.


Signs – 74%

M. Night Shyamalan’s take on alien invasions was far more contained than many others on this list. That being said, he managed to take a small premise and milk it for all it was worth, crafting together a movie that was scary, funny, emotional, and memorable. While many don’t hold it to the same regard as The Sixth Sense or Unbreakable (rightfully so, in my opinion), that doesn’t take away from it being a wonderful movie that stands on its own merits.


Prometheus – 72%

Ridley Scott’s return to the Alien universe was not what many people were expecting. However, this prequel set up a new look at the universe that brought us the Xenomorph, one that approached it from the perspective of seeking answers rather than facing our fears. Easily the most polarizing film on this list, it cannot be denied that Prometheus expands upon the mythology we’ve seen so far and takes it in fascinating directions.


Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Amy Seimetz, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Nathaniel Dean, Alexander England, and Benjamin Rigby star in Alien: Covenant. Ridley Scott directed the film, which was written by John Logan and Dante Harper based on a story by Jack Paglen and Michael Green.

Synopsis:
Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created, with ALIEN: COVENANT, a new chapter in his groundbreaking ALIEN franchise. The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise but is actually a dark, dangerous world. When they uncover a threat beyond their imagination, they must attempt a harrowing escape.

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Jonathan Barkan

Lifelong horror fan with a love of music on the side.

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