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"Life" (2017) Movie Review

Updated on December 17, 2021
Alec Zander profile image

Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.

Life is a 2017 American horror film directed by Daniel Espinosa and stars Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, and Hiroyuki Sanada. The fact that I just said 'American' horror film should already tell you that it's nothing new. It borrows from films such as Alien and Gravity and tries to throw in a surprise ending that's not all that surprising.

The film opens with a team of astronauts that have been instructed to intercept a damaged satellite containing Mars samples. As they sort through the recovered samples underneath the microscope, they discover a cellular structure that is beyond anything that Earth has. The cellular collection rapidly grows and before they know it, it becomes hellbent on survival no matter what the cost.

While the creature itself was pretty cool and the effects for it was spectacular, it was really no different than any other alien in a billion other sci-fi films. It was determined to survive and willing to kill the only other beings around to do it. No long-term plan, no knowledge of life on other planets, just the need to feed so to speak.

The acting was good, Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds being the two best. Then again, giving that most of the time the characters were screaming or getting their bodies broken, 'good' might not be the best word to use.

I did appreciate the attention to set props. A lot of times in films, horrors especially, things are always reset or moved around then when the film is edited there are objects out of place. It gets annoying after a while. In Life, there was special care taken to make sure everything looked perfect. Even the set design was perfect. It looked like they were really constricted inside their station which helped increase the claustrophobia. I just wish they had given the same amount of thought for the plot as they did the set and effects.

In conclusion, there's good and bad that can be said for the film. Yes, it kept you engaged the whole time. Yes, it did have a few horrifying moments. But can you see the same thing done in other films? Yes, and a lot of times the other films are done better. Think about it this way, if Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllanhaal weren't in this, would you still go see it? I give the film a total of 2 out of 4.

© 2017 Nathan Jasper


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