Review – Life

Posted: March 5, 2019 in Film, Horror, Sci-Fi
Tags: , ,

I caught this film on Netflix recently and, as a sucker for space horror, loaded it up and went in blind, not knowing what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. The cast were headed up by two very talented actors with Ryan Reynolds doing his patented brand of goofy yet heroic and Jake Gyllenhaal giving another solid, emotional performance. The rest of the ensemble were equally restrained and believable in their roles as scientist/astronauts tasked with researching samples taken from Mars that showed signs of life.

From the tense opening scene where the samples might’ve been lost if not for Reynolds bravery to the consequential astonishment at the discovery of an alien organism, albeit a very simple cell, the film had an undeniable quality. The research and its consequences are astounding yet, as the scientists continue their observations, that simple cell begins to transform, displaying an intelligence beyond anything they’ve ever seen before.

The film captures the tension and claustrophobia of a space station brilliantly, and the special effects are on point. As things take a turn and the cell (miraculously and suddenly) begins to evolve into a creature, that sense of knife-edge existence which comes from living inside a space station comes to the fore. The fragility of the human body, the desperation to survive is, in Life, viscerally portrayed – none more so than with Reynolds’ self- sacrifice.

As the cell turned creature turned monster begins to pick off the crew and desperation replaces logic, the true horror of the astronauts choices are revealed; there is no exit strategy. The last ‘firewall’ is for the station to be ejected into outer space. The scientists try everything but the creature is smarter, more suited to the environment and, basically, unkillable.

It’s solid horror. The atmosphere was well wrought and the acting well done. For me the annoyance came in how the creature managed to evolve from a single cell into a fully-fledged vampiric octopus so quickly. But, accepting the suspension of disbelief, it is a badass monster. Yes, the ending was predictable. However, it was an entertaining movie that hit all the right space horror tropes and made for a fun watch.

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