One of these days Virtual Reality will take over. Or so we’ve been told: Since the early ’90s, movies like “The Lawnmower Man” have predicted that humanity is two seconds away from strapping on bulky head gear and disappearing forever into animated realms.
Now, 25 years later, VR has made a comeback and we're hearing the same thing — again. And the new VR video for “Alien: Covenant” is some of the coolest — and grisliest — VR we’ve seen.
Called "In Utero," it also sort of plays like VR parody. The tech’s proponents speak about how it will create empathy: You get to literally see what other people see, taking a walk not in their shoes but in their eyes. And who does this “Covenant” VR video force us to empathize with? A Neomorph, the name of the forthcoming film’s new alien — an albino menace that pops out of a poor human’s back, not their chest.
You can watch it on YouTube (below), where you have to maneuver the image with the little toggle screen in the left-hand corner, or you can try it on Facebook, Sky, Ornage, Littlestar, Steam, even Oculus Video and Samsung VR. Any way you do it, it gets the job done. You see the little guy or girl springing to consciousness inside its womb, looking at its spindly hands, starting to learn to talk. All the while you hear the sounds of screaming — specifically of one “Covenant” character, played by Carmen Ejogo, who’s trapped in a room with a dude whose back is about to burst wide open, letting “you” loose to do your business. (This isn’t a spoiler; the scene is in the film’s original teaser trailer.)
What’s disturbing about this — apart from the gore and the human deaths — is that it really does force you to consider things from the Neomorph’s perspective. He is as God made him: Just a creature that didn’t ask to be born, didn’t ask to murder his or her host, and didn’t ask to see humans only as alien chow. Watch it and feel terrible all day. And then remember to actually see the movie, out next week.