R / 1h 43m / Horror, Sci Fi
My husband said this was the most terrifying film he’s ever seen. He said the only way he could describe it is simply dreadful. He was tense for its entirety. He was silent for a good 5 minutes afterwards.
BUT my husband didn’t have the pleasure of viewing Alien (1979) until last summer so I’ll forgive him for not being appalled.
A team of two women and four men stuck in a spacecraft with a malevolent unearthly life form that’s killing them off one by one just tryin to survive and they can’t let it get to Earth and there’s sacrifices to be made and so on and so forth.
I honestly don’t know how Life came to be without any intellectual property infringements or lawsuits but alas, it’s here and it was released early to avoid competition with the final Pirates of the Caribbean installment (thank god) – and that should tell you everything you need to know about it.
But there’s more to say. And some of it’s good.
The best part of Life is hands down the way it was shot. The crew (cue Gyllanhaal, Ferguson, Reynolds) is alive and well on the ISS and it’s REALLY convincing. They move around in anti gravity beautifully and even though they’re so far from home, the ISS feels like home (that may just be me, super into space science over here) and it pulls you into that world easily. There are plenty of gorgeous shots of space and the station to keep me heart eyed but scenery can’t carry a film to its fruition. *cough* Gravity (2013) *cough*
There are no casting flaws with Gyllenhall bringing us a timid scientist that hates humans and with Reynolds playing himself as always and with Ferguson delivering us an outstanding female lead. There are others on the station but they’re the definition of diverse side character monster fodder. Even the alien, Calvin, is one of the best aspects of this film – he’s beautiful and intriguing and, I guess by the nature of it, any scene he shares with the others he completely steals.
But he’s no Xenomorph.
Alien (1979) was a staple in my childhood – my father was obsessed with it. My step father was terrified of it. I was glued to the screen just wanting to see more of the Xenomorph. Lots of the fear that stemmed from that big guy was the fact that he chose darkness and it was difficult to ever really take him in (pre franchise) which is actually an aspect that Life did not plagiarize – Calvin was very present and seen pretty much the whole 2 hours. I loved that.
At the end of the day, when I think about this film I get offended. But there are multiple parts of it I can pick out and adore. It puts me in a weird and bitter position.
7/10 for you Jake Gyllenhall as Dr David Jordan – you actually probably saved the world.