Aliensthe second installment in the Alien franchise, is a classic horror film and a possible Strangers 5 could benefit from following in the footsteps of his genre. In AlienLast girl Ellen Ripley, played to perfection by Sigourney Weaver, is the sole survivor of an alien attack on the crew of the nostromo. the sequel movie, Aliens, this enemy repeats in a slasher villain storyline with a more pronounced sci-fi setting. Filmmaker James Cameron balances these two genres Aliens in a masterly way. However, the following movies (and many of the video games) add more action movie elements and downplay the horror, a change that hurts the franchise.
The sequels to Aliens shift the focus from horror to action at the expense of the franchise as a whole. In Alien 3, the previously subtle Weyland-Yutani Corporation from earlier films becomes a distinctly evil action movie gestapo, shooting anyone who gets in their way. They were much more effective as a shadowy entity that inexplicably teamed up with the Xenomorphs who wanted to kill humanity. Alien: Resurrection is more about the company than about Xenomorphs, pushing the franchise further from its roots. The result is an unsatisfactory mix of genres, emphasizing more sci-fi action while toning down the horror elements that were the main strengths of the first two films.
The decision to move from horror to action shifts the focus to the origins and motivations of the alien Xenomorphs, rather than the effects of their killings on the humans. Horror, at its best, is about human reactions to inhumane forces, connecting the viewer with the protagonists. A focus on action necessarily leads to nerfing the Xenomorphs because, unlike a horror villain, an action movie antagonist must be defeatable. Various action-heavy Alien prequels and sequels have tried to get around this problem with little success.
How a return to horror could help the alien franchise
The video game and comic Alien: Isolation offers a potential roadmap to reinvigorate the franchise. This game is a direct sequel to the first Alien movie, and is a solid survival horror story. Movies like Alien: Resurrection reduce The Company to action tropes as the main villain, which lessens the true horror of the Xenomorphs. Alien: Isolation is much more compelling because it is the primary voltage of the Alien movie franchise as the player tries to survive an existential threat and flee from a horrific monster.
Strangers 5 could take a similar approach to Alien: Isolation by going back to the franchise’s horror roots. This could mean a restart of the series after Aliens to obliterate all the messy retcons, which would allow the writers to focus on the survivors and how they deal with a ruthless, deadly enemy. This would be a step away from the pure action tropes that alienated audiences, and return the story to its foundations. Horror as a genre uses a myriad of storytelling techniques, but audiences must identify with the protagonists, and a horror-based survivor-focused Strangers 5 would be great fun to watch.
A Strangers 5 movie has been announced and then canceled multiple times since 2015. Current news suggests a movie is on the back burner, and a TV show is more likely to happen. That opens a way for a longer Alien prequel of Aliens sequel story. Horror is a much better genre to explore the threat of an unkillable and possibly immortal Xenomorph than action, and would return the franchise to the terrifying feeling that Alien and Aliens classics.
Next: Every Attempt At Alien 5 (And Why They Failed)