Actress Keri Russell witnesses one too many disturbing events in the 2013 thriller "Dark Skies." Actress Keri Russell witnesses one too many disturbing events in the 2013 thriller "Dark Skies." Actress Keri Russell witnesses one too many disturbing events in the 2013 thriller "Dark Skies." (Photo: Dimension Films)

8 movies not to watch if aliens freak you out

From 'Dark Skies' to 'Area 51,' the things that go bump in the night are no longer just ghosts.

In Brad Pitt's storied career, the actor has played a con artist, a spy and a man who ages in reverse. Up next? An astronaut. But not just any space traveler. In the upcoming movie "Ad Astra," the 55-year-old Pitt is sent to the edge of the solar system as he attempts to find his father who went missing while on a mission to discover alien life. You can watch the trailer below:

The movie won't arrive in theaters until September, but it got us thinking about our favorite, scariest movies. While ghosts have traditionally ruled frightful films, those creatures from another world are increasingly behind the loudest screams. If you need additional practice in quickly covering your eyes with your hands, the following eight alien-themed movies will get you into shape in no time.

1. 'Signs' (2002)

Set on a rural farm in Pennsylvania, "Signs" tells the story of a family faced with an alien invasion of Earth in their own backyard. Excellent performances from Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix, as well as a tight, tension-filled script from Indian-American film director M. Night Shyamalan, make this one an easy favorite for anyone who loves to scream during movies.

Who shouldn't watch: Anyone who has dreams of owning a cornfield one day.

2. 'Dark Skies' (2013)

What starts off as just another suburbia haunted house film turns into something sinisterly otherworldly in the 2013 film "Dark Skies." American film director Scott Stewart does excellent work slowly building the thrills as a young family faces a series of unexplained events in their home. Instead of ghosts, however, the culprits are aliens with evil intent.

Who shouldn't watch: Anyone who jumps at some unexplained noise in their own home or apartment at night. Nope.

3. 'Area 51' (2015)

If you enjoyed Israeli director Oren Peli's "Paranormal Activity" series, you're going to want to check out "Area 51." This found-footage film focuses on a group of friends eager to investigate the legendary base in Nevada and its purported connection to extraterrestrials. As you might expect, things go horribly wrong after the group gains access to the facility and discovers its less-than-human occupants.

Who shouldn't watch: Anyone with a fear of creepy dolls and/or angry aliens appearing in the same movie.

4. 'Alien' (1979)

British director Ridley Scott's "Alien" made anyone anxious to get to space after seeing "Star Wars" think twice. The film not only teaches the importance of avoiding glowing alien eggs, but that one should never leave the solar system without Sigourney Weaver. The only good thing to come out of watching "Alien" is that you'll be skiled in what a Xenomorph is; an important piece of information for your next game of Scrabble.

Who shouldn't watch: Anyone with indigestion.

5. 'The Thing' (1982)

"The Thing" is a seat-jumping, tension-filled horror classic from American director John Carpenter that keeps you guessing until the very end. It features a shapeshifting parasitic alien, a young Kurt Russell, and special effects that still make audiences scream more than 30 years later. Plus, it's set in Antarctica. Nothing good ever happens there.

Who shouldn't watch: Anyone who wants to go to the South Pole.

6. 'Fire in the Sky' (1993)

What's more terrifying than any of the films above? How about one that claims to be based on actual events? That's the premise behind "Fire in the Sky," which recounts an alleged extraterrestrial abduction that occurred in 1975 outside Snowflake, Arizona. The film has since become something of a cult favorite, with its "medical scene" ranked as one of the most terrifying alien moments in movie history.

Who shouldn't watch: Absolutely anyone who ever wants to sleep again. May we recommend "The Martian" instead?

7. 'Monsters' (2010)

Imagine a world where terrifying aliens have arrived – but are quarantined to a large area between Mexico and the U.S. Now imagine you're forced to travel through this hostile region in an effort to save your boss's daughter. Most of us would say "nope," so it's a highly unrealistic situation. But British director Gareth Edwards makes the most of this plot to knock out scare after scare. Even more impressive? Edwards created all of the special effects himself using only off-the-shelf software.

Who shouldn't watch: Anyone who fears that aliens with tentacles might one day attack them at a gas station.

8. 'War of the Worlds' (2005)

Starring Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning, this updated version of the H.G. Wells' classic involves hostile aliens intent on taking over the planet. Instead of a film with multiple storylines and viewpoints, American director Stephen Spielberg wisely chooses to focus on one family as they flee (along with the rest of humanity) from the technologically advanced invaders. What ensues is a thrill ride from start to finish, with plenty of frightening moments that will make you forever eye the nighttime sky with suspicion.

Who shouldn't watch: Anyone with a fear of one day being trapped in a basement with a mechanized alien.


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8 movies not to watch if aliens freak you out
Nightmare alert! Ghosts and boogeymen aren't the only things that go bump in the night. If aliens aren't your thing, you should skip these flicks.