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Life (2017) Review

Updated on March 24, 2017
Life theatrical poster
Life theatrical poster


The International Space Station in ruins.
The International Space Station in ruins.

What is scarier than being stranded adrift in outer space? Or, being trapped with an alien monster onboard a space station? Life answers those questions and more. Life (2017) is a science fiction horror thriller written by Rhet Reese and Paul Wernick. And directed by Daniel Espinosa. The film stars Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Rebecca Ferguson. The movie involves a team of six astronauts from the International Space Station who have stumbled across the most monumental event of the century. The discovery of life in outer space. More specifically, on Mars. However, their discovery isn't what they'd thought it'd be.

The story starts with the successful capture of a space probe from Mars with a sample of the planet's soil. What follows is the discovery of the first signs of extraterrestrial life. Everyone back on Earth praises its existence. Even offering a name for the alien—Calvin. The tone shifts dramatically when things go wrong. The lifeform is not content with living or dying inside a test tube. The horrendous lifeform will find a way to survive.


Rebecca Ferguson (Dr. Miranda North) and Olga Dihovichnaya (Katerina Golovkina)
Rebecca Ferguson (Dr. Miranda North) and Olga Dihovichnaya (Katerina Golovkina)

The characters are all written so you will grow to care for them. In one way or the other, all of the crew have distinct personalities. For example, Dr. David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a loner and prefers to be in the upper decks of the station. But, he is also courageous and will do anything for his crew at the drop of a hat. Rory Adams (Ryan Reynolds) is humorous and cynical to the point of not trusting his fellow man. Even though he acts on self interest, he's willing to do anything for his crewmates as well. There's also the expecting husband Sho Kendo (Hiroyuki Sanada), the bright Katerina Golovkina (Olga Dihovichnaya), and the benevolent Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare). To the narrative's credit, the scenes where the crew bonds together allow for the audience to bond with them as well. Making their fates hit just a little bit harder.

Hard Science/Horror

Jake Gyllenhaal (Dr. David Jordan)
Jake Gyllenhaal (Dr. David Jordan)

The film meshes the intricate details of hard science with horror to create the perfect environment. One-hundred percent of the time the astronauts are in zero gravity. The suits give them limited movement. The space station is filled with many corridors and rooms. Oxygen is scarce and the temperature has gone haywire. Dreadful situations happen at the drop of a dime due to failing systems. The compact design of the station causes the atmosphere of the film to be claustrophobic. Instead of running, the team must claw their way frantically through the long hallways. All while defending themselves from an deadly, alien lifeform hell bent on killing them.

The Alien

Calvin (the alien)  in his premature state.
Calvin (the alien) in his premature state.

Calvin (the alien) is not anything we've ever seen before. The body is made up of all brain and muscle. It is small and tranquil at first, but later on becomes deadly. It uses the people around it mercilessly and as resources. Then, disposes of them without a second thought. The lifeform is extremely intelligent and has the strength of an Ox. It has multiple tentacles and grisly rows of teeth. The greatest part about this monster movie is the alien's ability to evolve. The ability adds to the terror of the situation and as the movie progresses, it is more and more apparent the team is ill-equipped to handle the situation.

Bottom Line

Life is a horror thriller in every sense of the word. Thankfully, the director knows the meaning of suspense. The movie is suspenseful throughout and the impending doom will engage the audience to the very end. Images of outer space and Earth are astounding. Anyone who's squeamish should be cautioned because the kills are wild and brutal. The movie's accurate representation of space and its facilities will satisfy any Sci-Fi fanatic. It adds to the horrofic nature of the film and doesn't overshadow it. Coupled with the jarring, dreadful music the film is frightening until the very end. I do not regret giving Life a chance over the others. And neither will you.

Life is rated R and currently out in theaters worldwide.


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