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The first Alien: Romulus trailer shows the franchise making a long-awaited return to its horror roots

Show me less and scare me more.

Alien: Romulus trailer screenshot
Image credit: 20th Century Studios

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We all know that the original Alien film is one of the greatest horror films of all time that just happens to be in a sci-fi setting, but for a long time the franchise itself forgot that. The Alien: Romulus trailer goes a long way to try to remind us all where the film’s roots are.

The first teaser trailer for Alien: Romulus shows just how scary the Xenomorphs should be by following a "less is more" philosophy. There are long lingering shots of empty corridors, slowly panning toward bloodstained pods. Everything is given to us in flashes of light and obscure images. Most importantly, there isn’t a CGI Xenomorph in sight.

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In fact, we don’t see much of the iconic alien at all, which is another sign that director Fede Álvarez understood the assignment handed to him. We see plenty of face-huggers and even come up close and personal with one as it is removed in a particularly visceral-looking segment, but the actual full Xenomorph doesn’t make an appearance until the last moments of the trailer and that is a brief image obscured in shadow.

The rule in horror is that the less you show your monster, the scarier it will be. That sense of dread and the fear of the unknown are far more crippling than anything that the film can show us. It is enough that the Alien: Romulus trailer shows us the devastation that these creatures can unleash.

If the final product we see when Alien: Romulus comes out on August 16, 2024 is anywhere near as good as the first trailer, it will be an incredibly welcome return to form for a franchise that has too often strayed from its horror roots.

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Alien: Romulus


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Trent Cannon avatar

Trent Cannon


Trent is a freelance writer who has been covering anime, video games, and pop culture for a decade. (He/Him)