Alien Horror Movies Any Fright Fans Must Watch

Alien movies have always proven popular and will either bomb or rocket to success at the box office (In mild exceptions)

Alien horror movies are downright terrifying. The best alien horror movies feature brave humans fighting for their lives while trying to save the planet from an extraterrestrial invasion. This is a list of the scariest movies about aliens featuring everything from District 9 to The Faculty to Body Snatchers. You’ll quickly see that this is much more than just a top ten scary alien movies list.

What scary films will you find on this list of the top horror movies about aliens and creepy alien abductions? Ridley Scott’s Alien – starring Sigourney Weaver as the tough-as-nails Ellen Ripley – gained instant cult status upon its 1979 release. Following multiple sequels, the director returned to the same universe with his 2012 film Prometheus. The latest iteration of War of the Worlds, featuring Tom Cruise, is another classic alien horror movie. John Carpenter’s version of The Thing is one of the most terrifying and thrilling movie-watching experiences in the history of cinema. Other great films featured on this best alien horror movies list include The Arrival, Starship Troopers, and Invasion.

Which scary alien movie deserves the top spot on this list? That’s up to you to decide. Give your favorite frightful alien flicks a vote up and check back for new alien movies.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Or is it a spaceship coming to kidnap humans and devour their entrails? From the moment we learned to look up to the stars, we wondered who might live up in the skies. Once we understood those shining spots in the night were suns of different planet systems, we began to question if we were all alone in this universe. And if we are not, will our galactic neighbors be friends or foes?

If there are so many horror movies about aliens, it’s because we fear a different species might be as vicious as humans, willing to conquer, destroy, and devour anything that stands in their way. The fun, then, is imagining what these monstrous creatures would look like and which otherworldly technology they’d use to enslave us all. To help you navigate the cold and dark universe of horror movies with aliens, here are our thirteen best recommendations.

Prey (2022)

Predator is a 1980s testosterone-infused horror action movie about Arnold Swachzeneger using his wits to fight a deadly alien in the jungle – and it’s just perfect the way it is. Dan Trachtenberg’s Prey takes everything the original movie does well and applies it to a period piece where a Comanche tribe needs to defeat an alien hunter equipped with advanced technology. It’s fast-paced, violent, and filled to the brink with memorable fights between the Predator and every deadly wild animal it can find, including humans. Both Predator and Prey remain some of the best horror movies with aliens ever, but the latest movie of the franchise is such a spectacle of practical effects that we can’t help but recommend it every time the opportunity arises.

Attack the Block (2011)

Joe Cornish’s Attack the Block imagines what would happen if aliens invaded a council state in London instead of a big city center. With this unique premise, the movie explores important subjects such as gentrification and criminality in marginalized communities, which already makes this one remarkable horror movie. But on top of everything, Attack the Block presents a unique kind of alien, even if it had to stretch a small budget the most it could. The end result is a visual feast that, instead of demonizing urban youth, turns it into an unexpected hero. Finally, Attack the Block is the first feature work of John Boyega, capable of showing the actor’s range long before he joined the Star Wars franchise.

Alien (1979)

We can’t talk about horror movies with aliens without mentioning, well, Alien. Ridley Scott’s game changer film grabs the concept of a slasher and takes it into space, where the crew of a spaceship must fight a deadly killer in a claustrophobic environment, while they are taken down one by one. Alien is nerve-wracking, tense, and bloody cruel, which makes it an essential film for any horror-fiend. The creatures designed by artist H. R. Giger also contributed a lot to making Alien such an iconic film, as everyone recognizes the unique aesthetics of the facehugger and the xenomorph. It’s a rare example of a horror movie that resists the passing of time, and is capable of scaring the audience senseless decades after it was released.

A Quiet Place (2018)

John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place is surprising in many ways. First, even though it was Krasinski’s debut in horror, A Quiet Place ranked as one of the best genre entries of 2018. Then, the movie is scary even though it boasts a PG-13 rating. Finally, A Quiet Place‘s sound design is so impressive that it can force a fully crowded commercial screening to remain silent for 90 minutes straight. The aliens of A Quiet Place are hypersensitive to sound, which forces the entire cast to remain in absolute silence if they want to survive. The movie explores how a family developed clever ways to keep their everyday life while remaining out of the aliens’ radar. Most importantly, instead of filling the silence with background music, Krasinski brilliantly used the silence as a tool, with each sound turning into a menace for the family and the audience.

NOPE (2022)

Fresh out of the oven, Jordan Peele’s NOPE is simultaneously one thrilling Western and a unique horror movie about aliens. Just like Peele’s previous movies, Get Out and Us, NOPE has a rich subtext, this time discussing the predatory nature of Hollywood. However, the way Peele materializes the Hollywood monster makes this the most entertaining movie from the horror master. NOPE’s alien is a giant eye that sucks people in, mows them down, and spits out their digested bodies. It also hides in the cloud waiting for the next big attraction to get its attention. Some might say that NOPE lacks subtlety, but one can argue that’s exactly what makes the alien creature so impressive and the movie such a joyous ride.

Slither (2006)

Long before James Gunn took the Guardians through galactic adventures, he brought the perils of outer space into Earth. Gunn’s feature film directorial debut, Slither, is a classic tale of an invader coming from the stars to conquer the entire planet. But while the story follows the classic beats of a horror movie with aliens, Gunn adds his unique style to the feature, turning Slither into one gruesome, funny, and highly entertaining film. The star of the show is the alien itself, a creature capable of attaching to any beast’s nervous system, controlling their bodies to reproduce and force new beings to join the hive mind. As if parasitic aliens weren’t disgusting enough, Gunn goes out of the way to turn the alien into a bloody mass of melted meat. The script of Slither might not be among the best works by Gunn, but the creature design is too delicious to ignore.

Cloverfield (2008)

While most of the found footage genre is based on small-scale experiences of people finding ghosts in abandoned houses or creatures in the woods, Cloverfield uses the first-person view to explore a giant monster attack in New York. While kaiju movies are usually thrilling and filled with action, Matt ReevesCloverfield changes the perspective to show us what happens to people trying to survive the battle between a gargantuan alien and the U.S. army. The footage of Cloverfield shows how people are fighting to escape death, while the first view camera gives us glimpses of the horrific alien that’s tearing entire buildings with its might. It’s one of the best found footage films out there, one that pushed the subgenre forward and showed the first-person view could be used to tell more ambitious stories.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

While Don Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers deserves praise, Philip Kaufman’s 1978 reboot gets the prize of the best adaptation of The Body Snatchers novel by Jack Finney. The movie follows a group of people uncovering a huge conspiracy where a plant-like alien life form replaces humans from every social class while slowly taking control of the planet. The movie is a cry against conformism and consumerism culture in the U.S., denouncing people that let themselves become part of an emotionless machine. It’s also terrifying to wonder if your loved ones might have been replaced in your sleep, a paranoia-inducing thought that explains the lasting appeal of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

The Thing (1982)

Everything John Carpenter touches turns into horror gold, and it’s no different with The Thing. Based on John W. Campbell Jr.‘s novella Who Goes There?, The Thing follows a group of researchers in Antarctica encountering a parasitic alien life form that attaches to other living beings, changing their biology. The thing can pretend to be anyone, a façade it keeps by also absorbing memories. However, when attacked, the creature can also change a body to grow teeth, tentacle, and claws. It’s pure body horror, and well worth of being in everyone’s list of best horror movies with aliens. Even more since the practical effects of the feature aged like fine wine, and The Thing remains as scary today as it was on release.

Honeymoon (2014)

Honeymoon doesn’t have fast action set pieces or deadly encounters with alien creatures. In fact, the horrors of Honeymoon are more suggested than shown. What makes the feature film directorial debut of Leigh Janiak hit so hard is the humans at the center of a nightmarish situation. Starring Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway as a newly wedded couple, Honeymoon follows the loving birds into a retreat next to a lake. Janiak gives the audience enough time to understand how pure and genuine is their love, which only makes it more painful when extraterrestrial forces begin to break them apart. Honeymoon is a tale of trust, sacrifice, and doing whatever you can to keep the one you love safe. Unfortunately, in this case, love has disastrous consequences.

Under the Skin (2013)

Loosely based on the eponymous novel by Michel Faber, Under the Skin stars Scarlett Johannson in one of her most underappreciated roles. As an unnamed alien collecting horny men and turning them into food, Johanson does a wonderful job subverting power relations. While the men who cross Johanson’s path think they are hunters, she quickly turns them into prey, showing that her body is bait, not a prize. With a solid direction by Jonathan Glazer, Under the Skin does a wonderful job showing how an alien would experience the world. The fact the movie casts people with no previous acting skills and shot scenes using hidden cameras only makes the experience more realistic and disturbing. Under the Skin might be too slow and surreal to please everyone, but it is still a fantastic horror movie about extraterrestrial beings.

Annihilation (2018)

Some people love Alex Garland, some people are not so fond of his psychedelic filmmaking style. But everyone must agree that Garland knows how to put on a spectacle. Based on a novel by Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation follows a group of explorers entering The Shimmer, a quarantine zone where nature began to change due to the influence of a mysterious alien presence. What makes Annihilation so unique is that it takes a concept derived from the study of energy, refraction, and applies it to matter. And Garland knows just how to represent DNA refracting, that means, changing paths and creating nightmare-inducing creatures. Annihilation is a feast of color and light, and Garland is not afraid of getting weird to tell a story about identity and self-conscience. This is one of the most bizarre horror movies about aliens ever conceived, and it’s impossible to remain indifferent after seeing the disturbing imagery Garland conjured for his film.

Pitch Black (2000)

David Twohy’s Pitch Black is a classic example of how you can get away with a weak script if done with style. The story follows the survivors of a spaceship that crashed on an alien planet and need to figure out how they can get back home. The planet is illuminated by two suns, and it’s engulfed by continuous daylight. However, once every few years, an eclipse plunges the planet in absolute darkness, allowing the carnivorous creatures that inhabit the undergrounds to emerge and hunt for fresh meat. Guess when the spaceship crashed there? Lucky for the survivors, one of the people onboard the ship is a deadly serial killer who operated his own eyes to get night vision, played by Vin Diesel. If you think about Pitch Black for too long, it’s easy to see how the movie is filled with plot holes and clichés. But if you are willing to turn off your criticism for two hours, you’ll get a slick sci-fi horror filled with deadly aliens and an even deadlier action hero.

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Lee Clarke
Lee Clarke
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