Alien (1979)


After a space merchant vessel perceives an unknown transmission as distress call, its landing on the source moon finds one of the crew attacked by a mysterious life-form, and they soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun. (IMDb)
Only a few instances of distractingly dated SFX (see the puppet-like movement of the worm; big explosion) mar this claustrophobic and intimate sci-fi thriller: Natural dialogue and pacing, along with an excellent use of long tracking shots, shaky handheld movement, and facial close-ups capture perfectly the unsettling dread, shocking horror, and relatable characters trying to cope in a uniquely nightmarish plot (the initial terror from the gross alien is boosted by the robot twist later on).
8.5/10 (Amazing)

The Sweet Hereafter (1997)


A bus crash in a small town brings a lawyer to the town to defend the families, but he discovers that everything is not what it seems. (IMDb)

The non-linear narrative works as it moves between post- and pre-incident, leading you with baited breath to the breathtakingly traumatic moment, but as the convoluted scenes pile up (why is she making out with her dad?) it becomes just another irritation. The characters are never explained (all we get are long empty stares and confusing dialogue) so the emotions never sink in, and outside of that is just a bland plot (and pointless sub-story) about a lawyer trying to rally plaintiffs.


#1 on my Top 10 Most Overrated Films list