Cinematic Releases: Life (2017) Reviewed

When will humans in space learn their lesson? If you're a scientist, doctor, or some other form of galactic explorer, please heed this warning. Don't get cocky, kid. The little creatures or lifeforms you may find will not and do not want to be your cuddle buddy. Don't touch them. Don't feed them. Do not prod them or poke them. Keep your hands to yourself. They really don't want to be friends. In fact, they probably want to infect you, kill you, or inhabit your precious human flesh vessel to bring death and destruction to an entire civilization. You've been warned. 

Obviously bred from the same DNA as Alien,  this wary journey aboard the ISS is a claustrophobic nightmare situation that pits a newly discovered creature against a desperate crew of human beings that are on a scientific mission.  Much like every other movie in this sub-genre, decisions are fraught with despair as the fight or flight mechanism sets in when they find themselves in the battle for their own mortality. Using precise lighting techniques, excellently designed sets, realistic looking creature effects, and a believable cast that knows how to play well together, Life is actually much better than expected. Yes, the plot elements are borrowed from numerous other alien or sci-fi films, but the overall product is a carefully designed one that pays great tribute to its predecessors. 

jake gyllenhaal
Donnie Darko In Space!!!!! Where's that pesky rabbit?!

Stylistically, Life is an amalgamation of Gravity and Ellen Ripley's first battle against the Xenomorph. The tone is dark and brooding as the hallways of the ISS feel cold and mechanical. Cloaked in a veil of darkness while flashing lights serve as a beacon of hope, Gyllenhaal and Ferguson make a perfect match as director Daniel Espinosa skillfully manifests a sci-fi/horror project that puts the failures of his abysmal Child 44 to rest. Many will call Life a rip off or a clone. But it really isn't. There are obvious nods layered throughout, but overall, it's one that deserves a second viewing. As a long time genre fan, Espinosa's work here gave me real hope for the future of this cross breed of creature heavy cinema. 

This is an edge of your seat thrill ride that doesn't stop until the credits roll. Anchoring his new film with a cast that knows how to deliver realism and distress, Life exists mostly on the shoulders of six skilled actors that never fail in their portrayals. The jump scares are highlighted by a new breed of slithering creature that feeds on fear and flesh. The exterior space scenes are impeccably filmed. And the terrorizing phenomena of this little bastard named Calvin is desperately awaiting a sequel. If this thing can drum up enough money over the weekend, don't be surprised if we get a sequel called......Death

Fan of science fiction? Yes? See this one. But send the kids to see Power Rangers. 

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