Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown’s Netflix fantasy movie was inspired by Alien and Hitchcock

(Image credit: Netflix)

Millie Bobby Brown’s new Netflix fantasy film draws its inspiration from some unexpected places. Damsel, a twisted take on the fairytale genre, follows a young woman named Elodie who has to overcome incredible odds to survive after being thrown into a cave with a dragon.

Much of the film sees the Stranger Things star navigating dark caves under the earth to try and escape the fire-breathing monster. With plenty of close-ups and its dark tone – as well as a sinister creature lurking in the shadows – there’s a hint of Alien's Ripley to her character.

Speaking to GamesRadar+ and the Inside Total Film podcast, director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo agrees the Ridley Scott film lingered over their filming, as did another, more unexpected, filmmaker.

"I mean, Alien is one of my favorite movies, for sure," he says. "And it's there, you know. The shadow of Alien is some kind of protecting guidance I think, for every filmmaker. But I would say that specifically for Damsel because I was so keen to show a more mysterious suspense layer that funnily enough, I would say that Hitchcock is an influence for me."

Sigourney Weaver in Alien

(Image credit: Twentieth Century Fox)

He adds: "Even for this movie, because the way that Elodie, for example, is discovering the places and how the camera is tracking our point of view. It is an honor to that kind of filmmaking style that Hitchcock did."

The 28 Weeks Later director shares he drew on his horror background too when conveying the darkness of the story. "Every single fantasy tale contains a level of darkness because if you're going to tell the story about a transformation, you have to assume as an audience member that probably the protagonist is going to walk through darkness," he adds. "That's the only way to transform yourself, you have to walk into a very uncomfortable place in order to become a new person. It's a matter of being faithful with that."

Damsel is on Netflix now. You can listen to the full interview on the Inside Total Film podcast, which is out now too. We also speak to Fresnadillo about why Brown was the "perfect" actor for the role.

For more streaming inspiration, check out our guides to the best Netflix movies and the best fantasy movies to watch now.

Fay Watson
Deputy Entertainment Editor

I’m the Deputy Entertainment Editor here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I've also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.