by: Sean Harrison –
Directed by: Daniel Espinosa
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal (Dr. David Jordan), Rebecca Ferguson (Dr. Miranda North), Ryan Reynolds (Rory Adams), Hiroyuki Sanada (Sho Kendo), Ariyon Bakare (Hugh Derry), Olga Dihovichnaya (Katerina Golovkina)
Taking place on the International Space Station, Life is the latest trapped-in-space horror movie. As a result, comparison to Alien is imminent. Thankfully, though, in the case of this movie, the comparison is favorable. However, this movie may be the more frightening film, considering its more realistic tone.
When the movie begins, the crew is gearing up to return to earth after discovering a living organism (later named Calvin) on Mars. At first, the creature seems to be harmless, but after a careless mistake made by Derry (the lead scientist), it becomes aggressive and starts going after the crew. Making matters more terrifying, it also displays a tremendous adaptive intelligence, seemingly able to solve problems more effectively than the highly-educated crew. Also, it has evolved to be able survive under extreme conditions. This effectively makes it harder to kill than a cockroach. Unfortunately, the crew members aren’t so lucky. One by one, the creature picks them apart and uses them as a food source—getting bigger and more frightening with each victim. In the end, it resembles a cross between an Octopus, a Xenomorph (from Alien) and the Blob.
Some critics have accused this movie of not adding anything new to the genre, but there’s one thing that this statement pretty much ignores: everything is explained through science (and not made-up science either). Basically, this means Life has a level of intelligence that you don’t normally find in this type of movie. In comparison, this is to the horror genre what The Martian was to the comedy. But I digress…
I feel anyone that likes this type of movie at all should check it out. Not only is it spine-tingling, but it’s also very well acted. Ferguson and Bakare are especially brilliant. Also, the camera seems to float when the characters are in zero gravity. This, at times, made me feel more like a participant than a spectator. Needless to say, this only emphasized the horror elements of the film.