The Men in Black franchise is well known, but does it rate among the top alien films ever for KC? Read on!

With all the recent talk of aliens and unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAP) in the news lately (did you have that in your 2023 bingo card?), I feel like taking a deep dive into the top of my personal trove of all-time favorite alien movies!

And let’s get this out of the way, we are joking about these being fact, instead of fiction. Or, were we?

Watching members of Congress ask actual, serious questions about aliens and UFOs was a bit jarring. And apparently it’s not anywhere near the end.

“We’re going to uncover the cover-up,” Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee said. “And I hope this is just the beginning of many more hearings and many more people coming forward about this.”

There was even mention of actual objects being held by the military!

“That was the assessment of people with direct knowledge on the [UAP] program I talked to, that are currently still on the program,” Retired Maj. David Grusch said in his testimony.

I’m a huge sci-fi nerd, and the idea of aliens and UFOs has been a fascination of mine since I was a little kid. And honestly, it was hard narrowing this list down to just 9 entries.

I will be excluding franchises like Star Wars and Star Trek since, while they do contain an extra-terrestrial presence, it’s not the main focus of the films.

Here are my top nine alien movies:

  • 9. Cloverfield (2008)

    Starting off with a cult classic in Matt Reeves’ Cloverfield, a found footage style film that puts you right in the thick of the chaos. The fact that you go through much of the movie only catching glimpses of the gigantic alien terrorizing New York only enhances the terror of the unknown.  And the use of freehanded camera really does make you feel like you’re in the midst of an alien invasion along with the characters. However, that shooting style can also make you feel a bit nauseous at times, especially in scenes where the character holding the camera is sprinting (which, naturally, happens quite a bit in the movie). If you’re in the mood for The Blair Witch Project meets War of the Worlds, this is the one for you!

  • 8. Signs (2002)

    One word for this movie would definitely be SUSPENSEFUL. The pacing of Signs may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but personally, I enjoy the atmosphere M. Night Shyamalan created here. I grew up in a more rural area like the one portrayed in this movie so it felt immediately more relatable to me than most alien invasion movies where they immediately flock to places like New York and Los Angeles. Signs is certainly more grounded in its approach and is all the better for it. What’s more, the underlying theme of remaining hopeful in the face of despair is a message I feel resonates with so many people. Signs is oddly uplifting at times, and a fun enough watch to make you overlook some of the more glaring plotholes.

     

  • 7. Men In Black (1997)

     

    C’mon, you’re gonna tell me you didn’t walk away from this movie dreaming of becoming an MIB agent? Or wondering if you’ve ever been neuralized? Men in Black is not only hilarious – with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones playing off each other’s energy with perfection – but it also establishes a ton of world-building with unique alien creatures from across the galaxy. This one has a little something for everybody and is universally enjoyable for adults and kids alike. Plus, this scene alone is worth the price of admission.

     

  • 6. Prey (2022)

    If you have a Hulu account I highly recommend you check this one out! Prey is a beautiful blend of survival horror, sci-fi, and action. The story centers around Naru, a young female Comanche who sets out to prove herself as a capable hunter, but is herself being hunted by something not of this world. While this movie is technically part of the Predator franchise, the beauty of Prey is that it’s self-contained, meaning you don’t necessarily have to have seen the other movies in the franchise to understand and appreciate this one. Hulu certainly struck gold with this heart-stopping thriller that has a ton of rewatch value!

  • 5. Super 8 (2011)

    This movie kinda fell under the radar for a lot of people back when it was first released, which I think is a shame, because it’s a fantastic alien movie with no shortage of intrigue and suspense. Fans of Stranger Things in particular will most likely enjoy Super 8, as both projects feature phenomenal child actors, supernatural elements, and emotionally gripping subplots that will leave you in tears. Without giving too much away, let’s just say the alien in this movie is the least of the characters’ problems. This movie was entirely too slept on for my liking, and I consider it my personal mission to put as many people on to it as I can.

  • 4. Arrival (2016)

    Man, what can I say about Arrival that hasn’t been said already? It’s such a powerful, beautifully made film, with a reveal at the end that will make your jaw drop. The visuals are stunning, and even though you don’t get to see much of the actual aliens, the way they’re presented throughout still leaves you in awe. And not to mention powerhouse performances from Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, with the former earning an Oscar nom for her role. It’s a more cerebral and slower-paced alien movie than many of the entries on this list, but well worth a watch.

  • 3. Independence Day (1996)

    Ok, I think I’ve proven with the last two entries that I can appreciate more dramatic alien-centric movies. Now back to the cool ray guns and explosions!

    Independence Day is one of the most quintessential alien blockbusters in American cinema. People will give you funny looks if you tell them you haven’t seen it, and for good reason. The sheer scale of destruction the alien invaders leave in their wake is unmatched. They blow up the White House for crying out loud! Sure, some of the effects seem a little dated now, but the energized acting performances and rousing dialogue more than make up for it. And if Bill Pullman’s speech toward the end doesn’t get you hyped up to kick some extra-terrestrial butt then I don’t know what will. ‘Merica!

  • 2. District 9 (2009)

    Man oh man, District 9 is chaotic, grimy, and brutal. And I say those as compliments. Much like Cloverfield, this movie starts out with found-footage style camerawork, but switches to a more traditional film style about a third of the way in. Regardless, District 9 is unrelenting in its immersion and delivers pulse-pounding action in spades. One thing I appreciate about this movie is that the aliens are depicted as more sympathetic than you’d expect. The true villain of District 9, for the most part at least, is soul-crushing bureaucracy. But don’t worry, there’s more than enough blaster shoot outs and badass mech suits to keep you on the edge of your seat!

  • 1. Alien (1979)

    I made you sweat waiting for this one, didn’t I? Come on, I would’ve had to turn in my sci-fi nerd card if Alien didn’t top the list of my favorite alien movies!

    I even watched this Ridley Scott classic again recently to test if I was remembering it through rose-colored lenses. But nope, this movie is the real freakin’ deal. Despite being the oldest film in my line-up, Alien has stood the test of time and holds up as a truly horrifying and pulse-pounding thrill ride over 40 years after its release. Who could ever forget the iconic scene where the crew is in the mess hall, and when Kane starts convulsing they find out that – well, if you know you know.

    Sigourney Weaver was rightfully nominated for an Oscar for her performance, and it’s a shame she didn’t win because she packs a figurative AND literal punch in her role. If you haven’t seen this timeless classic, don’t worry, I will happily watch it with you. With the lights on. And with a video of cute puppies on my phone at the ready.

     

     

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