Guest Review: LIFE (2017)

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Directed By: Daniel Espinosa
Written By: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Runtime: 1 hr 43 minutes

I wish I could at least pretend to be as cool as the other writers who sit around me at these press screenings. I wish I could go to a genuinely scary movie like Life and calmly take notes, looking up at the screen dispassionately as I mentally critique some of the lamer dialogue. But I’m not cool, so instead I sit there cringing for an hour and a half, fighting the urge to put my hands over my eyes during a couple especially gag-worthy moments, “ohmygodohmyohmygodohmygod” written all over my face. On the bright side, any movie that can elicit this kind of reaction is pretty impressive.

Life follows a crew on the International Space Station (Hiroyuki Sanada as Sho Murakami, Ryan Reynolds as Rory Adams, Rebecca Ferguson as Miranda North, Jake Gyllenhaal as David Jordan, Olga Dihovichnaya as Ekaterina Golovkina, and Ariyon Bakare as Hugh Derry) that has obtained a Martian soil sample containing a living organism dubbed “Calvin.” While initially thrilled at their discovery of life on another planet, the crew soon has to fight for their lives as Calvin quickly evolves into a terrifying creature that threatens both them and, if they don’t stop it, life on Earth.

While fighting a terrifying extraterrestrial is hardly an original concept for a film, it is still incredibly well done here. Both the pacing of the movie and the soundtrack create a suspenseful atmosphere the whole hour and forty-three minutes. The CGI is impressive, and Calvin is a truly spooky creation; the design isn’t over the top, but it’s still genuinely scary, and the way it moves is so unnerving. The whole cast gives a strong performance, especially Hiroyuki Sanada and Jake Gyllenhaal, who have a couple stand-out moments during some particularly emotional scenes. However, the actors do tend to mumble some of their lines, making them hard to understand at times. There is also some lazy dialogue-clichéd jokes, comments stating the obvious- that falls flat and sometimes distracts from the overall feel of the movie.

Despite the couple issues I had with this film, I really enjoyed Life. I can see myself watching it again and being just as creeped out as the first time, which, for a sci-fi/horror movie, is no easy feat. If you want to be on the edge of your seat for most of the run time, definitely check this one out.

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Have you seen ‘LIFE’? Well, what did you think? 

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13 thoughts on “Guest Review: LIFE (2017)

  1. When I first saw the trailer, I just thought it’s another Alien ripoff and I didn’t really pay much attention to it. I’m a little surprised that the film got a much positive reviews, including yours, as it did. I might give it a rent when it’s on home video.

    Also, when I saw it’s directed by Espinosa, I just thought it’s going to be a crappy movie. I still couldn’t get over a crappy film he made a few years ago called The Safe House.

    1. Hi Laura, I echoed Ted’s comment that it looked like a lesser version of Alien. But glad to hear it was good. I was primarily interested in it because of Rebecca Ferguson, love her!

  2. Great review! I can echo Ted’s thoughts, I’d brushed Life off as an Alien rip off too. Now, this sounds too scary for me to see it in the cinema, but I’ll be looking forward to a home release!

    1. Thanks so much! I was ready to brush it off as an Alien rip-off too, but it was still a lot of fun to watch! I hope you enjoy it once it’s on DVD/Blu-Ray/streaming/whatever. 😀

  3. It does a great job of establishing and maintaining tension. Like you, I was on the edge of my seat for most of the movie. The problem is it doesn’t have anything new or original about it, and there are some plot elements that just don’t make sense. It’s more a missed opportunity than anything.

    1. Yeah, when I read the description before I went, I knew it wouldn’t be anything original. For what it is, though-an alien scifi/horror-I thought it was enjoyable!

  4. I enjoyed this one much, too! My only advantage is: I’ve never watched the trailer. So, I’m pretty shocked when I learned this one isn’t a cerebral sci-fi as it’s projected earlier. The acting is superb, too!

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