Dated but suspenseful thriller...
ALIEN shows its age. A lot. What was extremely terrifying back in '79 when the movie was released is merely suspenseful today. Whereas the movie's gore was trendsetting back then, nowadays most kids have seen worse. What hasn't changed, however, is the masterful artistry with which the film was made. Although it wasn't as scary as I remembered, the dedicated work and talent of the crew behind it is as evident as ever.
Now, I don't mean that the movie isn't suspenseful, or scary for kids. It very much is. The suspense is a killer in most places, and just because the gore doesn't compare to what is seen today doesn't mean that kids should watch it. Audiences see an alien bursting out of a man's chest, with splashing, spurting blood and moans and screams. A man is impaled from behind by the alien, and blood drips from his mouth. Another man is shot through the head by the alien's teeth, shown in a split-second cut of blood. This movie is less action-oriented than its sequels, thus, the single alien is more menacing. It stalks the crew members one by one, and kills them. The strange murders by the alien are also on a disturbing, quasi-sexual level, though no kids will pick up on this. Before a woman is killed, the alien's tail crawls up between her legs to stab her. And, after a man has an alien egg laid inside of him, it is mentioned that he has been "violated" and that the alien inside of him is akin to "his son." In addition to this, we see topless pin-up posters in the distance of one shot. There are four or five "f" words, and milder language like "d**n" and "s**t" is used probably twenty times. ALIEN is a stellar movie that, unfortunately, doesn't retain the power it had when released. However, it still remains an exciting introduction to quality horror movies for teens who are mature enough.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing