Is there something bigger than humankind out there? Aliens might be one of the most common theories that say yes, there is. In film, we find that aliens might be our adversaries, challenging our ethics and morals, and in doing so, might push forward our collective consciousness or force us to question our right to exist.
In these five films about aliens, humanity must prove that it is a deserving race to continue living on Earth (in some cases, humans must learn to become like the alien). These films show, in different horrific and profound ways, how aliens might challenge humans' sensory perception - and how we might respond.
In the 1979 movie Alien, a team of astronaut laborers bringing mineral ore back to Earth from outer space intercept a message from an unknown entity. Upon investigating a foreign planet, the workers find a massive living organism that parasitically is brought onto their spacecraft through the human body. Each crew member is threatened by the enraged lethal inhabitant which take both fetal and adult forms, and the humans must scramble to extinguish it before it viciously disseminates them on their way back home.
Under the Skin is a quiet and subtle preternatural story of a strange female traversing the cityscape. After looking for and picking up unfamiliar men along ghostly streets and neighborhoods, she brings them to desolate, decrepit, and dark places for erotic encounters that turn horrifying. The protagonist then finds herself held by the natural landscape, lost in her own trap.
Time is of the essence in Arrival, a movie based on Ted Chiang's novella Story of Your Life. When a linguistics professor is called to act in a global emergency pertaining to the descent of alien spacecraft on Earth, her world is altered forever. Her job: direct and personal interpretation of their symbolic language. The shared interaction brings forth a common unity that opens a window into humanity's most mysterious needs and desires.
Event Horizon doesn't follow typical notions of an alien encounter. After the disappearance of a previous ship, a spacecraft by the name Event Horizon jumps through time using a black hole's energy to find it. While doing so, the scientists aboard experience the spaceship come alive as alien forces use their bodies - including the ship's - as material to communicate through hallucinations of memory and symbolic images of collective trauma. With seemingly no physical trace to point back to as evidence, will all on board lose their minds or find innovative ways to transcend unspeakable chaos?
Headed by a power-hungry magnate touting scientific rhetoric, a corporate entity called the Life Foundation brings to Earth, from outer space, an alien symbiote, jumpstarting experimental trials on unwitting subjects who are forced to merge with the symbiote's Venom - also the name of the symbiote/human hybrid that decides to help, rather than hinder, the survival of the Earth. Venom has the help of a human host that, fortunately, cares about the future as well. The two make for a powerful force that the symbiote's ideological opposite must reckon with before taking control of the universe without a care for the paralyzing losses of an undivided humanity.