movie review of alien hunter

Alien Hunter

movie review of alien hunter

James Spader (Julian Rome) Janine Eser (Dr. Kate Brecher) John Lynch (Dr. Michael Straub) Nikolai Binev (Dr. Alexi Gierach) Leslie Stefanson (Nyla Olson) Aimee Graham (Shelly Klein) Stuart Charno (Abell) Carl Lewis (Grisham) Svetla Vasileva (Dacia) Anthony Crivello (Pilot)

An alien black box is found in the South Pole, where a government agency is conducting botanical experiments.

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movie review of alien hunter

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Alien Hunter (2003) poster

Alien Hunter (2003)

Rating: ★★.

Director – Ron Krauss, Screenplay – J.S. Cardone, Story – J.S. Cardone & Boaz Davidson, Producers – Boaz Davidson, Scott Einbinder, Carol Kottenbrook & Danny Lerner, Photography – Darko Suvak, Music – Tim Jones, Visual Effects – Worldwide FX (Supervisor – Simeon Asenov), Special Effects Supervisor – Willie Botha, Makeup Effects – Make-Up & Effects Lab, Inc. (Supervisor – Paul Elliott), Production Design – Wm Ladd Skinner. Production Company – Nu Image/Sandstorm Films/Hunter Productions A.V.V..

James Spader (Julian Rome), Janine Eser (Kate Brecher), John Lynch (Dr Michael Straub), Nikolai Binev (Dr Alexei Gierach), Leslie Stefanson (Nyla Olson), Carl Lewis (Grisham), Anthony Crivello (Pilot), Roy Dotrice (Dr John Bachman), Keir Dullea (Secretary Bayer), Svetlana Vasileva (Dacia Petrov), Stu Charno (Abell), Dobrin Dosev (Kapitan Sokelov), Bert Emmett (Osler), Woody Schultz (Sam)

Julian Rome, a lecturer in linguistics at Berkeley and a former cryptologist with SETI, is shown evidence of a non-random burst of interstellar communication that originates from a mysterious artifact that had been unearthed at a scientific research base in Antarctica. Rome immediately flies down to the base where a team of scientists are conducting advanced research into genetically modified corn crops. One of the scientists is Kate Brecher, who Rome once had an affair when she was a student, which led to his being disgraced. The artifact is thawed out, revealing a pod of alien origin. Just as the scientists cut the pod open, Rome deciphers the communication as being a warning not to open it. Those near the scene immediately collapse, infected with a deadly pathogen. The alien inside revives and flees through the complex. Rome encounters the alien as it attempts to communicate with his mind, just before the others arrive and shoot it. They are then informed that the government has despatched a Russian submarine to fire a nuclear warhead on the base within three hours to prevent the spread of the pathogen. Tests show that the rest of them are not infected and debate rages whether they should escape to freedom in a plane before the warhead strikes.

Alien Hunter comes from Nu Image funded by former Cannon Films associates, a production company that usually specialises in low-budget action films. A number of these have strayed over into genre territory with the likes of Cyborg Cop (1993) and sequels, the Project Shadowchaser series, Forest Warrior (1996), Judge and Jury (1996) and Octopus (2000) among others. Nowadays the company operates as Millennium Productions.

One of the more interesting names on the credits is that of screenwriter and executive producer J.S. Cardone. As both screenwriter and often director, J.S. Cardone has made a number of works, usually thrillers but a number of genre films, which always display an above average intelligence. As director, he has made the likes of The Slayer (1982), Thunder Alley (1985), Shadowzone (1990), A Climate for Killing (1991), Shadowhunter (1993), Black Day, Blue Night (1995), Outside Ozona (1998), The Forsaken (2001), True Blue (2001), Mummy an’ the Armadillo (2004), 8MM2 (2005) and Wicked Little Things (2006), as well as the scripts for Crash and Burn (1990), Sniper 3 (2004), The Covenant (2006) and the remakes of Prom Night (2008) and The Stepfather (2009).

On the basis of J.S. Cardone’s name on the credits, one had better than average hopes for Alien Hunter . Certainly, Nu Image have managed to bring on board an impressive cast line-up, including James Spader essentially doing a repeat on his alien interpreter role from Stargate (1994), John Lynch and minor roles from Keir Dullea – who of course encountered mysterious alien artifacts himself in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – and British actor Roy Dotrice. All of which seems to suggest that Nu Image were aiming a little higher than their usual direct-to-dvd fare when it came to Alien Hunter .

I admit to being a sucker for works about people trying to decipher/interpret communications from aliens – see The Arrival (1996), Contact (1997) and Sphere (1998). Alien Hunter starts well with the journey to the Antarctic base and the scientists puzzling over the pod. However, the film starts to fall flat when James Spader decodes the alien communication hidden between mathematical sequences on a radio wavelength and these suddenly emerge into perfect English saying ‘Do not open.” All the build-up to that point flops in a damp squib. And unfortunately, so does the rest of the film. Interviewed on the dvd extras, J.S. Cardone states that when he wrote the script he kept wanting to throw a twist on the audience every few minutes so they did not know where the film was going. Yeah, maybe, but it also ends up a schizophrenic film.

You also get the impression that J.S. Cardone was sitting back and thinking “what film can we borrow from/homage next?” First, we start out with a mysterious alien artifact uncovered in the ice at an Antarctic base – shades of The Thing from Another World (1951), which the film even quotes at one point with a black-and-white video image of men in a circle around a shape under the ice, one of the iconic scenes from The Thing . Next the film becomes about the mysterious object sending out communication bursts a la Contact and Sphere ; for awhile, it becomes about a sinister black alien creature lurking in the corridors (with the power naturally being off) along the lines of Alien (1979); before Cardone throws in a contagion outbreak and a countdown to a nuclear blast and we finally arrive at an ending where the surviving cast are carried off to the stars in a mysterious alien ship a la Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) (where at least the shimmering jellyfish-like ship of lights is an impressively original creation). Cardone gets carried away with his homages to the point he even throws in references to Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) during the introduction of James Spader at the university.

The problem with J.S. Cardone’s approach is that he is so busy hopping genres that Alien Hunter never settles down into telling a satisfying story. Moreover, he leaves a great many loose ends – the prologue conducts yet another retelling of the Roswell Incident but this is unconnected to anything else in the film, while there is no explanation of what the UFO that appears at the end is. You also wonder why some things happen – like what an apparently benevolent alien is doing in hibernation in a pod buried in the Antarctic and why the pod is filled with a deadly pathogen and broadcasting messages about not opening it. The ending comes as something banally transcendental – however, it feels unearned, being there more to wrap a plot up that it ever conveys anything wondrous.

Nu Image shot Alien Hunter on the cheap in Bulgaria where they shoot most of their films, which certainly does a more than reasonable job of standing in for an Antarctic base. James Spader, seemingly cast on the back of Stargate , does okay in the role – caught in the transitional period where he spent most of the 1990s playing uptight yuppies or slimy boardroom assholes and his triumphant emergence shortly after in the defining role of Alan Shore on tv’s Boston Legal (2004-8), followed by the surprise popularity of The Blacklist (2013-23). Despite an impressive cast line-up, nobody else delivers any performance of note.

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Alien Hunter Reviews

  • 2 hr 0 mins
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A team of government scientists conducting botanical experiments at the South Pole stumbles across an extraterrestrial black box. James Spader, Janine Eser. Dr. Bachman: Roy Dotrice. Bayer: Keir Dullea. Michael Straub: John Lynch.

Is there anything duller than benign science-fiction tales about misunderstood extra-terrestrials? In 1947, Axxon Resources’ engineer Osler (Bert Emmett) overheard an alien communication in the desert and disappeared near Roswell, New Mexico. The government hushed up the possibility that Osler was taken aboard a spacecraft. In 2003, an ice-covered object is detected emitting a radio signal in close proximity to a US government experimental facility in Antarctica. Resident scientist Dr. Gierach (Nikolai Binev) contacts Dr. John Bachman (Roy Dotrice), who supervises cryptographer Julian Rome (James Spader); Rome has a reputation for investigating similar phenomena. Julian leaps at the opportunity to to vindicate his X-Files theories about aliens, and hopes to rekindle his relationship with Dr. Kate Brecher (Janine Esser), the former student whom he once loved and who now works with Dr. Gierach. Gierach's researchers, who are working on 3.2 acres of hydroponic crops, are generally hostile and Dr. Michael Straub (John Lynch) has a particularly negative attitude. Julian discovers an harmonic sound similar to the one reported by Osler, but deciphers its message too late: It's a warning not to melt the ice and thaw out "the host." Once the scientists have been infected by this alien being, they become expendable to their government employers, who decide to "clear the area" rather than risk spreading the infection. Ironically, the alien isn't hostile and doesn't mean to harm its human hosts, killing only in self-defense. Straub, who had his eyes on the Nobel Prize, is an altogether nastier piece of work who isn't interested in sacrificing himself for the greater good of humanity and couldn't care less whether he spreads disease throughout the world. Although screenwriter J. S. Cardone handles this science fiction premise with intelligence, his script ultimately does little more than polish up old debates with some new technological lingo.

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Alien Hunter Reviews

movie review of alien hunter

Full Review | Original Score: 2/5 | Nov 9, 2005

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Alien Hunter

Where to watch

Alien hunter.

Directed by Ron Krauss

Earth just got its final warning!

Government agents find evidence of extraterrestrial life at the South Pole.

James Spader Janine Eser John Lynch Nikolai Binev Leslie Stefanson Aimee Graham Stuart Charno Carl Lewis Svetla Vasileva Anthony Crivello Kaloian Vodenicharov George Stanchev Rufus Dorsey Roy Dotrice Woody Schultz Ron Krauss William Ladd Skinner Franklin A. Vallette Hristo Aleksandrov Ross W. Clarkson Willie Botha Tyrone Pinkham Atanas Srebrev Joel Polis Keir Dullea Bert Emmett Marianne Stanicheva Dobrin Dosev Atanas Atanasov Show All… Hristo Shopov Harry Anichkin Velimir Velev

Director Director

Producers producers.

Danny Lerner Scott Einbinder Boaz Davidson Carol Kottenbrook Bobby Ranghelov

Writers Writers

J.S. Cardone Boaz Davidson

Casting Casting

Mary Jo Slater Laura Sotirova

Editor Editor

Amanda I. Kirpaul

Cinematography Cinematography

Darko Šuvak

Assistant Directors Asst. Directors

Franklin A. Vallette Antony Tanev

Lighting Lighting

Frits De Jong

Camera Operators Camera Operators

Emil Topuzov Goran Mecava Lazar Lazarov Hristo Aleksandrov

Additional Photography Add. Photography

Nikolai Kerezov Mihail Kotev

Production Design Production Design

William Ladd Skinner

Art Direction Art Direction

Valentina Mladenova

Set Decoration Set Decoration

Rossitsa Bakeva Stefan Manchev Rozalina Atanasova Rosen Stefanov Lyubo Samardjiev Keith Van Der Vent Vladimir Petkov Alexander Ivanov Kalin Stefanov Petko Angelov Konstantin Vladimirov Yuri Stoyanov

Special Effects Special Effects

Lyudmil Nikolov Ludmil Ivanov Michael Georgiev

Visual Effects Visual Effects

Iva Petkova Simeon Asenov Scott Coulter Iasen Pisarov Nikolay Gerjikov Victor Radulov

Stunts Stunts

Todor Lazarov

Composer Composer

Sound sound.

Charles Deenen Mark Ettel Paul Menichini John Brasher Peggy McAffee Eric Hoeschen Roberto Dominguez Alegria Rick MacLane

Costume Design Costume Design

Janie Bryant

Makeup Makeup

Sofi Hvarleva Ivon Ivanova

Hairstyling Hairstyling

Rositsa Tsanovska

Sandstorm Films Millennium Media Nu Image

Bulgaria USA

Primary Language

Spoken languages.

Russian English

Releases by Date

19 jul 2003, 05 nov 2003, 24 nov 2003, releases by country.

  • Theatrical 12
  • Theatrical T
  • Theatrical 15
  • Theatrical R

100 mins   More at IMDb TMDb Report this page

Popular reviews

maya

Review by maya ★½ 1

james spader is the best actor with the worst filmography

Lola

Review by Lola ★★

the student sending james spader an email saying 'I WANT YOU' with the subject line reading 'sex' is maybe the most relatable thing i've seen put to film

olivia 🌷

Review by olivia 🌷 ★½

hilariously bad except the I WANT U email… to professor james spader… goes crazy

mattstechel

Review by mattstechel ★★★

This was good?!?!? I mean the terrible title and cover art would 1000% indicate complete and total schlock, so imagine my surprise to find it far more engaging than i was prepared for. That first hour is literally "Arrival" or "Contact" but with a low key James Spader playing this pretty seriously. He gets a couple monents of good low key banter with an ex girlfriend pf his who is of course also aboard the Arctic base that he's been sent to to try and make contact with a frozen alien life form. He's a former SETI employee who is now teaching about language and communication at a college thanks to some sex scandal that got him drummed out but…

Em

Review by Em ★★ 2

This was like if Raiders of the Lost Ark and Arrival had a baby that sucked so they gave it away to The Thing who raised it poorly. If I made a movie I would simply not reduce the saturation to 25% in every scene

But James Spader as a snarky pathetic professor in a big winter coat: SMASH!!!!

ZaraGwen

Review by ZaraGwen ★½

I'd rather rewatch The Thing (2011) than this

Film_Sammlung

Review by Film_Sammlung ★

Warum zum Geier kommt der hier so positiv weg? Der Film wird mit voranschreitender Laufzeit die reinste Qual, welche selbst gekonnte Trashgucker wie mich auf die Barrikaden steigen lässt.

In einem NASA-Genlabor in der Antarktis hat man eine Rettungskapsel eines fremden Raumschiffes geborgen. Dieses stößt dasselbe Radiosignal aus, welches bereits beim Roswell-Absturzes 1947 aufgegangen wurde. Der ehemalige Alienjäger Julien Rome wird daraufhin abberufen, um vor Ort das Signal zu entschlüsseln.

James Spader aka Robert California war ja Anfang der 2000er auf einem schwierigen Grad seiner Karriere, was sich hier nur erneut widerspiegelt. Sonst kennt man hier Darstellerisch nur noch John Lynch und für viele der mitspielenden hat der Film hier echt die Karriere beendet.

Obwohl man sich hier ordentlich bei…

Kevin Cormier

Review by Kevin Cormier ★★½

This was surprisingly better than I expected.  James Spader stars in this movie that sees an agricultural group in the Antarctic finding a large object buried beneath the ice that is transmitting signals.  The cover art for this makes the movie look terrible, but it’s not the case.  Just goes to show you, never go work anywhere in the Arctic or Antarctica....never turns out well

Richard L. Haas III

Review by Richard L. Haas III ★★★

“Julian, I don’t feel so well.”

You know, for a early 2000s low-budget made-for-TV SyFy Original science fiction film staring James Spader that went straight-to-VHS, this is actually pretty decent. My expectations with this film were essentially that it would just be a Predator clone, but instead it turned out to be more of The Thing From Another World meets The Abyss , Sphere  and  Epoch .

But I think that I was justified in my initial assumption of what the film would be like. While I never saw the trailer, I do remember sifting through a bunch of VHS tapes that my nana had in the early 2000s and seeing the covers of this film, Basic , Red Water , and a handful of others.…

ericlisausky

Review by ericlisausky ★★

Spader yet again give 110% on screen, his tripping balls scenes are a fucking delight. The movie’s plot is literally The Thing x Contact x Alien

Curtis

Review by Curtis ★★½

Inspired heavily by The Thing from Another World , so much so as to use a few seconds of footage from that film, Alien Hunter is from that time when SyFy films weren't lazy trash, and actually had a smidgen of thought expended in them.

James Spader, basically playing a Daniel Jackson type again, is drawn to an Antarctic agricultural lab to investigate a strange signal emanating from beneath the ice. The movie splits itself nicely into parts: getting everybody in position, analyzing the signal and... what comes after.

I'll leave it at that. It's simultaneously a fairly rote siege plot while also being done decently enough to stay interesting. Some of the effects haven't dated well, but it actually doesn't require THAT much in the way of special effects. Though it does save the best for last.

Chuck Dowling

Review by Chuck Dowling ★★★

Decent sci-fi thriller that seems like it's going to rip off THE THING considering it is set in Antarctica, features footage from the original film and even co-stars Joel Polis from the 1982 version. However it ends up being an amalgam of several sci-fi movies, never really settling in on any particular one of them. I'm not sure what James Spader is doing in this, but he's backed up by a eclectic supporting cast (Keir Dullea from 2001 A Space Odyssey, Roy Dotrice from Amadeus, Carl Lewis from, uh... the Olympics, etc). The ending is BONKERS.

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Alien Hunter

Additional Info

  • Genre : Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Release Date : July 19, 2003
  • Languages : English
  • Captions : English
  • Audio Format : 5.1

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Alien hunter.

ALIEN HUNTER

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For the NASA-funded research team stationed at the most desolate reaches of Antarctica, it's another routine day - until the communications satellite picks up a mysterious signal coming from a strange object lodged several meters beneath the ice. Suspecting it may not be from Earth, the lead scientist immediately places a call to Julian Rome (James Spader), an old friend formerly employed as a cryptologist for the U.S. government's SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) program. Catching the next flight to the South Pole, this former "alien hunter" is soon led to the unidentified object which is still encased in a large block of ice. After constructing a makeshift decoder, Rome quickly cracks the complex mathematical code, only to discover the message is an alien warning. Now it's a terrifying race against time to prevent the total annihilation of the planet in this pulse-pounding sci-fi thriller.

movie review of alien hunter

© 2003 Hunter Productions A.V.V. All Rights Reserved.

movie review of alien hunter

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Looking to feast your eyes on ' Alien Hunter ' on your TV, phone, or tablet? Tracking down a streaming service to buy, rent, download, or watch the Ron Krauss-directed movie via subscription can be tricky, so we here at Moviefone want to do the work for you. Below, you'll find a number of top-tier streaming and cable services - including rental, purchase, and subscription options - along with the availability of 'Alien Hunter' on each platform when they are available. Now, before we get into the various whats and wheres of how you can watch 'Alien Hunter' right now, here are some details about the Sandstorm Films, Millennium Media, Nu Image science fiction flick. Released July 19th, 2003, 'Alien Hunter' stars James Spader , Janine Eser , John Lynch , Nikolai Binev The R movie has a runtime of about 1 hr 40 min, and received a user score of 51 (out of 100) on TMDb, which assembled reviews from 122 top users. Want to know what the movie's about? Here's the plot: "Government agents find evidence of extraterrestrial life at the South Pole." 'Alien Hunter' is currently available to rent, purchase, or stream via subscription on Microsoft Store, DIRECTV, YouTube, Vudu, and Google Play Movies .

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movie review of alien hunter

Rotten Tomatoes Has FINALLY Settled The Debate About The Best Alien Movie

  • Rotten Tomatoes ranks Alien above Aliens, solidifying its status as the best in the series.
  • The Alien franchise has made over $1.35 billion globally, with Prometheus and Alien: Covenant being the most financially successful.
  • Alien and Aliens stand out as the strongest movies in the series, with superior critical scores compared to other entries.

With the publication of its list of the 300 " Best Movies of All Time ", review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes has seemingly confirmed which movie in the Alien series is truly the best. As one of the most successful sci-fi horror series ever made, Alien has cemented its status in popular culture – providing both one of the most iconic movie heroines and monsters ever made. While the overall quality of the series has fluctuated from film to film, two entries have long stood out as the strongest movies in the franchise.

Starting in 1979 with Ridley Scott's seminal original movie, the Alien saga has made over $1.35 billion globally – excluding the controversial Predator crossover movies. As a result, the franchise ranks simultaneously as one of the most successful science fiction and horror sagas of all time, with its enduring influence felt across both genres. The two most financially lucrative Alien movies have both been the most recent, with Prometheus and Alien: Covenant making $403 million and $241 million, respectively. Despite this success, however, the debate around the two best Alien movies centers around earlier entries in the series.

Rotten Tomatoes Officially Ranks Alien Above Aliens

While both movies have their defenders, Rotten Tomatoes has officially placed Alien above Aliens in its combined list of the greatest movies ever made. Impressively, both movies sit inside the top 100, according to the site's ranking, with Alien coming in at number 57 and Aliens sitting at number 80 . However, while this positioning highlights the quality of both movies, it also reinforces the idea that Alien is a better movie than Aliens .

Ever since James Cameron released his Alien sequel in 1986, there has been fierce debate around which movie was superior. Part of what made the argument so engaging is that the two films offer such radically different approaches to the source material, with Alien leaning more heavily into the horror elements of the story and Aliens introducing explosive action alongside the scares. There's also the fact that Aliens ' Rotten Tomatoes score is actually higher than Alien 's , suggesting that critics prefer the sequel. However, even with this discrepancy, Rotten Tomatoes combined critical and audience criteria has seen Ridley Scott's horror movie triumph – cementing its status.

Alien And Aliens Are The Best Movies In The Franchise

Although fans have often oscillated over whether Alien or Aliens is the best movie in the series, there is no doubt that the two original entries are streets ahead of the rest of the saga in terms of quality. While every Alien film has its defenders thanks to the popularity of the characters and creatures, close examination of the movies' comparative critical scores reveals that there can be no doubt about Alien and Aliens ' preeminence. Based purely on their Rotten Tomatoes scores alone, the two films are at least 20 percentage points better than the next " best " Alien movie , highlighting their superiority.

Alien Movies In Order (Release & Chronological)

From Ridley Scott's Alien to the sci-fi franchise's prequel series beginning with Prometheus, here's how to watch the Alien movies in order.

There are several reasons why Alien and Aliens succeed where other installments have failed. In their own way, both films were brilliantly original, despite their radically different storytelling styles. Where subsequent Alien films got bogged down in lore and overly complex themes, Alien and Aliens are actually fairly straightforward – instead relying on iconic design, stunning visuals, and powerful characters to carry the story. While all later Alien movies have tried, to some extent, to follow this formula, only Alien and Aliens successfully balance all the necessary elements .

Why Alien's Ranking Is Correct

Even though Aliens boasts a better score on Rotten Tomatoes and many fans enjoy the movie's emphasis on action, Rotten Tomatoes' decision to rank it below Alien is ultimately correct. Although the original film's slow-burn story is arguably more challenging , the richness of H.R. Giger's design, Ridley Scott's claustrophobic world-building, and the terrifying concept of the xenomorph's simultaneously disturbing and intriguing lifecycle make it one of the most powerful and influential movies ever made.

Aliens bold decision to approach the saga with fresh eyes and a more action-heavy story certainly marks it out as a truly great movie sequel. However, without the design originated in Alien , the movie would not have been as memorable . Without the xenomorphs themselves (not to mention Ripley), Aliens would have been an enjoyable action romp. It's the ideas and world first established in Alien that elevate the sequel to truly great status. Given this dependency, it's only right that Alien 's achievement places it further up the list.

Movie(s) Alien: Romulus (2024), Alien: Covenant (2017), Prometheus (2012), Alien: Resurrection (1997), Alien 3 (1992), Aliens (1986), Alien (1979)

First Film Alien (1979)

Cast Danny McBride, Charles S. Dutton, John Hurt, Guy Pearce, Winona Ryder, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Sigourney Weaver, Michael Fassbender, Ron Perlman, Idris Elba, Carrie Henn, Yaphet Kotto, Veronica Cartwright, Dan Hedaya, Tom Skerritt, Charlize Theron, Pete Postlethwaite, Paul Reiser, Noomi Rapace, Michael Biehn, Katherine Waterston, Ian Holm, Harry Dean Stanton, Demin Bichir, Charles Dance, Billy Crudup

Character(s) Lope (Alien), Tennessee, Christopher Oram, Walter (alien) Daniels (Alien), Peter Weyland, Janek (Alien), Meredith Vickers, Elizabeth Shaw, General Perez, Johner (Alien), Annalee Call, David (Alien), Bishop II, Clemens (Alien), Dillon (Alien), Private Hudson, Rebecca 'Newt' Jorden, Bishop (Alien), Carter Burke, Corporal Hicks, Dennis Parker, Ash (Alien), Gilbert Kane, Brett (Alien), Joan Lambert, Arthur Dallas, Ellen Ripley

Rotten Tomatoes Has FINALLY Settled The Debate About The Best Alien Movie

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‘Star Trek: Starfleet Academy’ Series Casts Holly Hunter in Main Role (EXCLUSIVE)

attends the 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. 27522_009

The “ Star Trek: Starfleet Academy ” series at Paramount+ has cast Holly Hunter in a lead role, Variety has learned.

Hunter’s character will serve as the captain and chancellor of the Academy, presiding over both the faculty and a new class of Starfleet cadets as they learn to navigate the galaxy in the 32nd century.

“It feels like we’ve spent our entire lives watching Holly Hunter be a stone-cold genius,” said co-showrunners Alex Kurtzman and Noga Landau. “To have her extraordinary authenticity, fearlessness, sense of humor, and across the board brilliance leading the charge on ‘Starfleet Academy’ is a gift to all of us, and to the enduring legacy of ‘Star Trek.'”

Popular on Variety

With its focus on higher education — from the throes of budding romance to the pressures of academic achievement to the angst of painful self-discovery — “Starfleet Academy” is part of a wider strategy to expand what a “Star Trek” show can look like.

“These are kids who’ve never had a red alert before,” Landau told Variety in a March 27 cover story about the future of “Star Trek.” “They never had to operate a transporter or be in a phaser fight.”

Hunter is part of an elite society of actors to boldly go into “Star Trek” after winning an Academy Award, including Whoopi Goldberg, Louise Fletcher and F. Murray Abraham. Hunter earned an Oscar for best actress for her performance in 1993’s “The Piano,” along with nominations for 1987’s “Broadcast News,” 1993’s “The Firm” and 2003’s “Thirteen.” Her career has spanned five decades, from her breakout role in the Coen brothers film “Raising Arizona” in 1987 to her iconic role as the voice of Elastigirl in 2004’s “Incredibles” and 2018’s “Incredibles 2.”

Hunter is repped by CAA, Entertainment 360, and Ziffren Brittenham.

Kurtzman and Landau serve as co-showrunners and executive produce “Starfleet Academy.” Gaia Violo, Aaron Baiers, Olatunde Osunsanmi, Jenny Lumet, Rod Roddenberry, Trevor Roth, Frank Siracusa, and John Weber also executive produce. The series premiere episode was written by Violo. CBS Studios produces in association with Secret Hideout and Roddenberry Entertainment. The series is distributed by Paramount Global Content Distribution.

“Starfleet Academy” is the latest addition to the “Star Trek” TV universe at Paramount. Next year, “Section 31” will explore Starfleet’s cloak-and-dagger black ops division in the first “Star Trek” streaming movie, starring recent Oscar winner Michelle Yeoh (reprising her role from “Discovery”). Elsewhere, “Lower Decks,” the first “Star Trek” animated comedy, will conclude its run after five seasons in the fall, while “Discovery” — the flagship show of the revamped “Star Trek” TV projects — will end its run after five seasons on May 30. The popular series “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” has been renewed for a fourth season ahead of the third season premiere.

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Cailee Spaeny's on the Hunt for Xenomorphs in New Look at Alien: Romulus

Alien: Romulus star Cailee Spaeny is seen preparing to take on the franchise's unique brand of horror in a set photo from Fede Alvarez' upcoming film

Fans get a new look at Alien: Romulus star Cailee Spaeny in action. Better yet, she is clearly prepared for whatever Xenomorphs come her way.

In a May 20 post from the official Total Film Twitter account, fans can see Cailee Spaeny creeping through dark corridors while wielding what appears to be some sort of tank-fueled weapon, as indicated by the hose attached to the contraption she is carrying around. This is just the latest image that fans have seen from the set of Fede Álvarez' upcoming entry into the Alien franchise, though one of the few to feature any of the film's human cast members in the middle of the franchise's overtly tense action.

Alien: Romulus Set Video Reveals Practical Facehugger in Action

Álvarez' Alien: Romulus marks the seventh feature film entry in the long-running franchise that began with Ridley Scott's 1979 sci-fi horror classic, Alien . The upcoming feature is set to take place between the events of the original and its 1986 sequel, Aliens , both of which starred Sigourney Weaver in the iconic role of Ellen Ripley. Cailee Spaeny stars as Rain Carradine in Alien: Romulus alongside a leading cast consisting of David Jonsson, Archie Renaux, Isabela Merced, Spike Fearn, and Aileen Wu.

Alien: Romulus Utilizes Practical Effects

In April, Merced discussed the immense detail that went into the special effects on the set of Alien: Romulus . Merced went into detail about her experiences working with the franchise's infamous Xenomorphs, which she regards as a personal career highlight. "They used a robot for that. And also, they used a human being, like a really tall person, in the costume and special effects." Merced continued, "We had two Xenos on set, at all times, and they were just terrifying."

Why This 2013 Horror Movie Reboot Matters for Alien: Romulus Fans

Spaeny previously spoke about taking the lead in an Alien film as a fan, as well as working to honor the legacy that Weaver left behind as Ellen Ripley . "I definitely did everything that I could to bring that character to life," Spaeny said. "I could never be her. But I injected whatever I have in me into that character, and tried to make it three-dimensional – as three-dimensional as possible." Spaeny also touched on how Alien: Romulus ' setting within the overarching Alien timeline drove creative discussions during production, explaining that "We set it between the first movie and the second. We were talking about, 'How could this be a child of the two?"

Alien: Romulus is set to arrive in theaters on August 16.

Source: Total Film via Twitter

Alien: Romulus

Young people from a distant world must face the most terrifying life form in the universe.

'The Substance' Review: Demi Moore Is Back in Stylish Body Horror | Cannes 2024

Also starring Margaret Qualley, this film is a raucous ride.

The Big Picture

  • The Substance is a body horror film following an aging actress navigating sexism and reclaiming her body autonomy.
  • The visual maximalism of the film can be overwhelming, prioritizing style over character development.
  • The movie ends with a gore-filled, bonkers finale.

Coralie Fargeat’s The Substance is a body horror film that takes after Julia Ducournau 's Titane . The director made a name for herself in 2017 with her feature debut Revenge , an uneven yet entertaining rape-revenge thriller. That film contained a handful of inspiring visuals which had many (including myself) clocking Fargeat as a clear one to follow in the horror space. There’s the gnarly moment the lead character cauterizes a wound with an aluminum beer can and also the ending which is a never-ending chase scene through hallways of slippery-slidey blood. Somehow, The Substance’s finale far exceeds the bloodiness of Revenge ’s.

The Substance

A new sci-fi body-horror film by Coralie Fargeat centered on a special metamorphic treatment known as The Substance.

What Is 'The Substance' About?

But to rewind, in The Substance we first meet Elisabeth Sparkle ( Demi Moore ), an aging Oscar-winning actress in the process of getting fired from her fitness TV host job . She’s simply not "hot" enough anymore. It’s nothing personal, just the reality of being her age in this profession—this is how her sexist producer boss Harvey ( Dennis Quaid ) cavalierly explains it through mouthfuls of shrimp, chowing down in a manner that makes King Denethor II from The Lord of the Rings look like Anna Wintour . Naming a brazenly sexist producer “Harvey” clues one in early to the level of subtlety to expect in the narrative to come.

Around this time, Elisabeth is presented with an intriguing opportunity to start afresh again —a black USB drive from a mysterious product “The Substance” beckoning for her to learn more. The slickness of this company’s product packaging and video presentation mirror how Fargeat and her collaborators compose and shoot every frame of The Substance . Fargeat co-edits, and extreme close-ups juxtapose against wide shots and more impressionistic flourishes, bouncing between them all at a Ritalin-fevered pace. Abrasive, overexaggerated sound effects are piped in wherever possible. This visual maximalism has varying mileage and can become grating as it leaves little space for actual character building. The film prioritizes style above all else, with colorful symmetrical framing and title cards in hip sans serif block text. With a hefty 140-minute runtime, this makes The Substance exhausting in spots where it should be exhilarating.

As Elisabeth takes the plunge and begins her Substance treatment, the body horror elements begin and it’s clear right away that if you’re queasy you should exit the theater now before it gets much worse later . This is also where co-lead Sue ( Margaret Qualley ) emerges and, without spoiling how their symbiotic relationship works, the fight between Elisabeth and Sue’s control over their own bodies takes center stage. The story begins to spin its wheels in this middle act, with endless montage sequences illustrating Sue’s ascendant modeling and TV career contrasted with Elisabeth’s rapidly deteriorating body. At its core, The Substance acts as a feminist update on Oscar Wilde ’s The Picture of Dorian Gray .

Coralie Fargeat Chooses Style Over the Substance

Unafraid of nudity presented from every conceivable angle, Moore’s performance bares all . Meanwhile, Qualley’s nude body as Sue seems digitally altered, which creates this airbrushed feeling that is quite effective. Sue’s youthful body represents the total commodification of sex, where the explicit and sexlessness intersect. The Substance ’s satire can be too obvious and straightforward, like when Harvey tells Elisabeth the age-old line that women should smile—an audio clip that pops up throughout the film’s more manic moments. Sue’s role in taking over Elisabeth’s life is presented with an intentional lack of interiority (she barely speaks throughout the film). If she was granted more personality, we might have ended up rooting for both leads, amping up the intensity of their back-and-forth battle for cultural relevancy as actors.

Alternatively, Elisabeth and Sue could team up together . Instead, they refuse to let another woman (each other) stand in the way of their own dreams—a savvy read on how the capitalism rat race functions to deflect from the real enemies.

The Substance drives toward a New Year’s Eve special that Sue is slated to host, a gig sure to skyrocket her stardom to a new level. After being cooped up in the same few locations for much of the runtime, this finale leads to some set pieces that exit the TV studio and Elisabeth’s apartment—a welcome change. The suspense here makes the narrative flatness of the film’s first two-thirds more apparent and disappointing. But sticking the landing is not easy and so this completely bonkers, often very funny, gore-filled final act grants The Substance goodwill. Considering The Substance ’s ending builds on the blood-soaked ending of Revenge , then God help us for what Fargeat has in store for us for her third feature. The Substance ensures she’ll have a legion of new horror fans anxiously anticipating it .

Coralie Fargeat’s The Substance is a film whose style might get in the way of the substance, but it still ensures the filmmaker will have a legion of new horror fans waiting for what she does next.

  • Everything from the style to the way the bodies have seemingly been digitially altered provides quite effective moments.
  • The film is rather savvy when it comes to how the capitalism rat race functions to deflect from the real enemies.
  • The bonkers ending is a welcome change of pace that sticks the landing, ensuring that it ups the ante from everything that followed in spectacular fashion.
  • Much of the film can be too obvious, often feeling exhausting in parts where it should be exhilirating.
  • The film is lacking in character growth as it goes all in on a maximalist style, leaving little sense of who some of these people are.

The Substance had its World Premiere at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival.

  • Cast & crew
  • User reviews

Hunter Schafer in Cuckoo (2024)

A 17-year old girl is forced to move with her family to a resort where things are not what they seem. A 17-year old girl is forced to move with her family to a resort where things are not what they seem. A 17-year old girl is forced to move with her family to a resort where things are not what they seem.

  • Tilman Singer
  • Dan Stevens
  • Hunter Schafer
  • Jessica Henwick
  • 4 User reviews
  • 21 Critic reviews
  • 58 Metascore
  • 1 win & 2 nominations

Official Trailer

  • The Hooded Woman

Sydney LaFaire

  • Gretchen's Friend

Mila Lieu

  • Henry's Wife
  • All cast & crew
  • Production, box office & more at IMDbPro

Did you know

  • Trivia Originally scheduled to release on May 3, however it was delayed to August 9 for undisclosed reasons.
  • Goofs When Gretchen uses the word "message" in sign language, she uses a gesture similar to texting on a cell phone. Cell phones with a keyboard hadn't been invented yet in the era the movie is set in.
  • Connections Referenced in Amanda the Jedi Show: Everyone in ABIGAIL is DUMB... and I love them | Explained (2024)

User reviews 4

  • Feb 17, 2024

New and Upcoming Horror

Production art

  • How long is Cuckoo? Powered by Alexa
  • August 2, 2024 (United States)
  • United States
  • Wuppertal, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • Fiction Park
  • Waypoint Entertainment
  • See more company credits at IMDbPro

Technical specs

  • Runtime 1 hour 42 minutes

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COMMENTS

  1. Alien Hunter (2003)

    ALIEN HUNTER turns out to be nothing more than a low budget, TV-movie-style version of THE THING, with a bunch of no-name scientists (and James Spader, repeating his geek-guy STARGATE role) recovering a crashed UFO in the Antarctic and coming upon something decidedly unpleasant within.

  2. Alien Hunter

    Alien Hunter R 2003 1h 40m Sci-Fi List Reviews 16% Audience Score 1,000+ Ratings Government agents find evidence of extraterrestrial life at the South Pole.

  3. Alien Hunter (2003)

    Alien Hunter: Directed by Ron Krauss. With James Spader, Janine Eser, John Lynch, Nikolai Binev. An alien black box is found in the South Pole, where a government agency is conducting botanical experiments.

  4. Alien Hunter

    Alien Hunter is a 2003 American-Bulgarian science-fiction-thriller film directed by Ronald Krauss and starring James Spader, Carl Lewis and Leslie Stefanson. Plot [ edit ] In 1947 New Mexico, a radio operator receives a bizarre signal, coming from Roswell, New Mexico .

  5. Alien Hunter (2003) Review

    ET phoning in. Alien Hunter (2003): 5 out of 10: Is it me or does every movie that starts in Roswell, New Mexico suck. Take Alien mixed with The Thing, mixed with Contact, mixed with of all things On the Beach, The Andromeda Strain, the classroom scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark and a throw in a little Stargate to boot.. Derivative doesn't even begin to describe this movie.

  6. Alien Hunter (2003)

    An alien black box is found in the South Pole, where a government agency is conducting botanical experiments. ... Film Movie Reviews Alien Hunter — 2003. Alien Hunter. 2003. 1h 32m. R.

  7. Alien Hunter (2003)

    Alien Hunter comes from Nu Image funded by former Cannon Films associates, a production company that usually specialises in low-budget action films. A number of these have strayed over into genre territory with the likes of Cyborg Cop (1993) and sequels, the Project Shadowchaser series, Forest Warrior (1996), Judge and Jury (1996) and Octopus (2000) among others.

  8. Alien Hunter

    Alien Hunter Reviews. 2003. 2 hr 0 mins. Suspense, Action & Adventure, Science Fiction. R. Watchlist. Where to Watch. A team of government scientists conducting botanical experiments at the South ...

  9. Alien Hunter

    Alien Hunter Reviews. All Critics. Top Critics. All Audience. Verified Audience. Emanuel Levy EmanuelLevy.Com. Full Review | Original Score: 2/5 | Nov 9, 2005. Rotten Tomatoes, home of the ...

  10. ‎Alien Hunter (2003) directed by Ron Krauss • Reviews, film + cast

    The movie's plot is literally The Thing x Contact x Alien Review by Curtis ★★½ Inspired heavily by The Thing from Another World , so much so as to use a few seconds of footage from that film, Alien Hunter is from that time when SyFy films weren't lazy trash, and actually had a smidgen of thought expended in them.

  11. Alien Hunter (2003)

    Kate Brecher (Janine Eser) is worried about the thing. She thinks it's not only spacial rubbish, but a kind of alien container which may become dangerous. Julian Rome (James Spader) is an expert in computer language. There are a kind of strange transmission he's getting, but he seems not to be able to crack it.

  12. Alien Hunter (2003)

    Visit the movie page for 'Alien Hunter' on Moviefone. Discover the movie's synopsis, cast details and release date. Watch trailers, exclusive interviews, and movie review. Your guide to this ...

  13. Alien Hunter

    Alien Hunter. R. 1h 32m. 2003. Preview. Wishlist. For the NASA-funded research team stationed at the most desolate reaches of Antarctica, it's another routine day - until the communications satellite picks up a mysterious signal coming from a strange object lodged several meters beneath the ice.

  14. ALIEN HUNTER

    ALIEN HUNTER. For the NASA-funded research team stationed at the most desolate reaches of Antarctica, it's another routine day - until the communications satellite picks up a mysterious signal coming from a strange object lodged several meters beneath the ice. Suspecting it may not be from Earth, the lead scientist immediately places a call to ...

  15. Alien Hunter

    About this movie. James Spader stars as Julian Rome, a fading expert in cryptology and extraterrestrial intelligence. His career slide is interrupted when he's called to Antarctica to aid a group of geneticists whose top-secret base of operations has been compromised by the discovery of an enormous extraterrestrial object embedded in ice, which ...

  16. Alien Hunter (2003) Stream and Watch Online

    Released July 19th, 2003, 'Alien Hunter' stars James Spader, Janine Eser, John Lynch, Nikolai Binev The R movie has a runtime of about 1 hr 40 min, and received a user score of 51 (out of 100) on ...

  17. Alien Hunter

    For the NASA-funded research team stationed at the most desolate reaches of Antarctica, it's another routine day - until the communications satellite picks up a mysterious signal coming from a strange object lodged several meters beneath the ice. Suspecting it may not be from Earth, the lead scientist immediately places a call to Julian Rome (James Spader), an old friend formerly employed as a ...

  18. Alien Hunter (2003)

    About Press Copyright Contact us Creators Advertise Developers Terms Privacy Policy & Safety How YouTube works Test new features NFL Sunday Ticket Press Copyright ...

  19. Alien Hunter

    About this movie arrow_forward When extraterrestrial and cryptology expert Julien Rome (James Spader) is brought in to investigatea mysterious alien object in Antarctica, he gets more than he bargained for: government conspiracy,deadly disease, human betrayal, rekindled romance, and the end of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence ...

  20. Watch Alien Hunter

    When extraterrestrial and cryptology expert Julien Rome (James Spader) is brought in to investigatea mysterious alien object in Antarctica, he gets more than he bargained for: government conspiracy,deadly disease, human betrayal, rekindled romance, and the end of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. 501 IMDb 5.1 1 h 31 min 2003.

  21. Rotten Tomatoes Has FINALLY Settled The Debate About The Best Alien Movie

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  23. Alien Hunter

    R. Sci-fi & fantasy. Extraterrestrial expert Julien Rome (James Spader) is brought in to investigate a mysterious alien object in Antarctica whose advanced radio signal emits a cryptic and lethal message.

  24. The Garfield Movie Review: As Lazy as the Cat Himself

    The Garfield Movie has a lot on its mind, and some of the ideas in that mind could've translated into something worthwhile on the screen. But this is Garfield we're talking about. Laziness is his ...

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    By Timothy Adams - May 20, 2024 12:14 pm EDT. Fans of The Fall Guy will get to watch the Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt film at home sooner than anticipated. The Fall Guy arrived in theaters on May ...

  26. 'Star Trek: Starfleet Academy' Series Casts Holly Hunter in ...

    Most recently, she starred opposite Ted Danson in the NBC comedy "Mr. Mayor.". Hunter is repped by CAA, Entertainment 360, and Ziffren Brittenham. Kurtzman and Landau serve as co-showrunners ...

  27. Alien Hunt (2024)

    Alien Hunt: Directed by Aaron Mirtes. With Megan Nielsen, Barron Boedecker, Brent Bentley, Deiondre Teagle. A group of siblings go to their family cabin after over a decade for a hunting trip to reconnect, only to find themselves being hunted by a terrifying alien creature. Now they must team up and become the hunters before becoming the hunted.

  28. Cailee Spaeny's on the Hunt for Xenomorphs in New Look at Alien ...

    Álvarez' Alien: Romulus marks the seventh feature film entry in the long-running franchise that began with Ridley Scott's 1979 sci-fi horror classic, Alien.The upcoming feature is set to take place between the events of the original and its 1986 sequel, Aliens, both of which starred Sigourney Weaver in the iconic role of Ellen Ripley.Cailee Spaeny stars as Rain Carradine in Alien: Romulus ...

  29. 'The Substance' Review

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  30. Cuckoo (2024)

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