Review by J.T. Johnson
DIRECTOR: Daniel Espinosa
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Seamus McGarvey
WRITERS: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
MUSIC: Jon Ekstrand
“Life” takes place in the near future on the International Space Station. Five astronauts capture a damaged probe returning from Mars. They soon discover that an alien life form survived the journey back. Unfortunately for them, the alien life, eventually named Calvin, begins to grow into a creature of survival and turns on its new human caretakers.
The movie contains an impressive cast and none of them turn in bad performances. It also contains some highly impressive special-effects and I believed that these characters were floating around in space. It’s a well made movie and now I must answer this simple question…
Why didn’t I like it?
The first problem is that the story ultimately just bored me to death. There was never really any suspense due to how predictable the whole affair is. I knew who was going to die, I knew there would be an “all is lost moment” before someone realized that they actually did have one more option, and ultimately I predicted the ending despite a vain attempt at a last minute twist.
Then there were certain little things that bugged me. It felt like they set the film slightly in the future just to have some future tech to support the story. Also, they generated sound in space. Now, beyond the lack of scientific accuracy, I just felt that the suspense of the movie would have benefitted by actually conveying that there is actually no sound in space.
There were also a few moments where the movie switches to “monster vision” and we see things from the alien’s perspective. These were the only moments where the effects failed and I was taken out of the movie. There was also the problem of showing too much of the monster.
I think that part of the suspense was cut down by knowing where the alien was pretty much the whole time. Had the filmmakers stayed away from showing the location of the monster, we may have been able to feel the horror of the unknown like the crew does throughout the movie. It actually surprises me that this mediocre horror film came from the writers of “Deadpool” and “Zombieland”.
In conclusion, the movie does boast an impressive cast and well done special-effects. Unfortunately, it is bogged down by a rather generic script. The movie is far too derivative of superior fare such as “Alien” and “The Thing”. Some fans of the horror genre may be able to find something here, but I think more people will find it to be a quite forgettable affair.