What to watch this weekend: true crime, terrifying sci-fi and a scandalous must-see
One of the original terrifying gems of cinema, Alien is 40 years old and if you want horror of a different kind, new Irish flick A Hole in the Ground is well worth watching. The engaging and visually beautiful The Aftermath is also one for lovers of period film. The real story behind Netflix’s Dirty John is available to stream and on TV, a juicy novel forms the basis of an adaptation, detailing the scandalous affair between a teacher and student.
On the big screen:
This sci-fi classic is one of the most horrifying movies ever made and 40 years later, it still holds up. Ridley Scott took what was originally a B movie concept and elevated the seemingly simple setting of a space team sent to investigate suspicious activity on an unknown plant into a two-hour terror fest. The claustrophobic setting (with, of course, the famous dinner scene), incredible alien designs by the late H.R Giger and a standout performance by the always-formidable Sigourney Weaver means this one is a must-see on the big screen.
Alien is showing at The Light House cinema on Saturday, March 2
Period film fans should love this engaging and moving feature in 1846, post-war Germany. Rachael (Keira Knightley) is reunited with her husband Lewis (Jason Clarke) after he is tasked with helping to rebuild the ruined city of Hamberg. They move into what was a German household and Lewis informs his distraught wife that he intends to let the owners – German widower, Stephan Lubert (Alexander Skarsgard) and his troubled daughter – stay on. Rachael, increasingly left alone in the house, slowly bonds with Lubert and the two start an affair.
Beautifully shot with a standout performance from Clarke – you can read our interview with its director, James Kent HERE.
The Aftermath is in Irish cinemas now
A Hole in the Ground
The feature-length debut from director Lee Cronin follows single mother Sarah (played by Seána Kerslake, of Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope and A Date for Mad Mary fame) and her son Chris (James Quinn Markey) as they struggle to settle into a new life at the edge of a forest. The town and the local school are strange to Chris, and an elderly neighbour (Kati Outinen) makes Sarah uneasy. But things seem to be going okay, until one night, Chris disappears into the woods. When he returns, he’s not the same — and she begins to question what exactly happened to him that night in the forest.
IMAGE.ie’s deputy editor Erin Lindsey calls this one a “proper good horror movie.”
Dirty John: The Dirty Truth
Following Netflix’s Dirty John, an eight-part true crime anthology series based on the Los Angeles Times podcast of the same name. This is the true story of Debra Newell (Connie Britton), a beautiful and successful middle-aged interior designer who falls in love with a supposedly wealthy anaesthesiologist John Meehan (Eric Bana). Only, as the title suggests, perhaps he isn’t as perfect as he first appears. Newell’s family are suspicious. In The Dirty Truth, the real-life Newell family recounts what happened in the original podcast and just how dangerous John really was.
Dirty John: The Dirty Truth is available to stream on Netflix now
Notes on a Scandal
Zoe Heller’s juicy 2004 novel is the basis for this film, which centres on a solitary ageing teacher, Barbara (Judi Dench) who forms an obsession with a new colleague, Sheba a free-spirited art teacher (Cate Blanchett). Sheba soon embarks on an affair with a male student provoking Barbara to write a hypnotic account of their friendship. At first, she is happy to defend her friend but in knowing a little too much, soon things take another turn. Both Dench and Blanchett shine in the leading roles.
Notes on a Scandal airs on BBC 1 at 12.o5 AM Sunday, March 3