The Alien franchise has gone through more genre shifts than possibly any other film series. Ridley Scott's Alien from 1979 was a straight up horror film, and is considered one of the scariest movies ever made, while James Cameron's 1986 sequel, Aliens, is considered one of the best examples of the action genre. Alien 3 attempted to return to horror, Alien: Resurrection to action, the two Alien vs Predator movies were sort of B-movie tributes, and Prometheus was hardcore science-fiction. So how scary is Alien: Covenant, the newest installment in the series?
When original director Ridley Scott returned to the franchise for 2012's Alien prequel Prometheus, many fans thought the series would be returning to its "in space no one can hear you scream" horror approach. That didn't happen, as Scott was more interested in telling a philosophical story about the creation of mankind than rehashing the fear of being alone in space and hunted by an alien monster. Reaction to the movie was famously mixed, which may or may not be why Scott decided that its sequel — Alien: Covenant — would be more of a traditional Alien movie. And by doing so, the director has once again made a terrifying film.
The official synopsis of the film is this: "Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, members of the colony ship Covenant discover what they think to be an uncharted paradise. While there, they meet David, the synthetic survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition. The mysterious world soon turns dark and dangerous when a hostile alien life-form forces the crew into a deadly fight for survival." The "hostile alien life-form" stalking a crew sounds an awful lot like the original Alien, and the trailer is sure to include all the hallmarks of that movie, like facehuggers and chestbusters and xenomorphs — in other words, all the scary stuff is back in a big way.
Also evident in the trailer is that the film borrows some of the action movie beats from Aliens and includes a good amount of large scale CGI special effects, making the movie somewhat of a hybrid between the first two Alien movies. But since its lacking the elite space marines of Cameron's film — and since Scott is directing — you can bet that the movie hews more closely to the horror vision of Alien than to the blockbuster spectacle of Aliens.
If you've always found that the creatures from the Alien franchise scared you but felt they haven't been properly utilized since the first film, then Alien: Covenant could be just the movie you're looking for. The film is bringing the franchise back to its terrifying roots thanks to original director Ridley Scott, and it looks to be the scariest movie set in outer space since 1979. Just remember that in the movie theater, everyone can hear you scream.