Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Movie Review: Life

Sci-fi horror is an awesome genre and Life is a decent addition with solid alien terror in a claustrophobic space station. The movie begins quickly with the crew of the International Space Station catching a flying vessel that contained samples from Mars. All of the information is relayed through voice-over by Commander Miranda North (Rebecca Ferguson) to drop us into the plot and get the alien terror rolling. The movie takes a bit to let us know the crew as David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal) deals with being in space for a record amount of time, Sho Murakami (Hiroyuki Sanada) celebrates the birth of his child, and scientist Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare) experiments and becomes enamored with the alien creature named Calvin. He becomes so obsessed with it that he accidently breaks quarantine and the alien goes into hibernation. 

As the Hugh tries to wake it up it strikes back and breaks his hand, wise-cracking spacewalker Rory Adams (Ryan Reynolds) moves in to get him out of there but is viciously attacked by the growing creature. Worried about it escaping the laboratory, Sho and Commander Ekaterina Golovkina (Olga Dihovichnaya) try to shut down the vents but are unsuccessful at sealing the room. The alien only becomes stronger as it picks off the crew members who work to capture and contain it.

The movie had a lot more horror than I thought as the mysterious Martian grips its victims tightly and crunches their bones after popping up out of nowhere. The movie delivers on that premise yet fails to deliver anything iconic as the alien is mostly an unidentifiable blob through the first half of the film before it develops somewhat of a creepy face. There are some grotesque occurrences as the creature crawls inside of bodies to grow larger and siphon away oxygen. Its seemingly indestructible nature make it a force to be reckoned with adding to the dread that is only compounded by the actual threat of space.

The camera work was one of the most appealing parts as it flips around with the gravity never letting us fully know which way is up creating the confusion of space and zero G. Ferguson and Gyllenhaal were probably my two favorite performances mostly because they share the most camera time but solid support from Sanada and Bakare makes the cast an all-around likable crew that makes it all the more awful when they start to succumb to their curiosity. The film has a classic horror ending that left me curious about if this could ever have a sequel.

The film did not do well as it was not part of a big property and none of the movie stars were enough of a pull to bring people to the theaters. I would like to see success for horror science fiction as I like to see films like this that bring crazy imagination to what is out possibly threatening us. The film certainly stresses the danger of space and how hard it will be for people to survive out there. I hope more films like this will come to the theaters despite the lack of success for this one. The biggest flaw of the film is that there was nothing special beyond the original idea of an alien klling a space crew and needed an extra twist. 

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