Life (2017) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Life (2017) Review

Horrorific content by Ciarán Coleman on July 17th, 2021 | Movie Review | Alien, Survival, Sci-Fi, Confined

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It’s about a six-member crew in space that uncover the first evidence of life on Mars.

Life is a 2017 American science fiction horror film directed by Daniel Espinosa, written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds. It’s extremely reminiscent of Ridley ScottsAlien’ (sometimes to the point it feels a little too similar for comfort) but its strong performances and visuals save it from being a carbon copy.

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Life Review

Life’ has been done a hundred times before and in a lot of cases, better. The characters are, for the most part, unoriginal and the film can’t seem to escape its own mediocrity (though it tries admirably). It layers weak character development over a generic plot that would work a lot better if it didn’t take itself so seriously.

That being said the biggest disappointment from ‘Life’ is its poor use of its brilliant cast. The acting from both Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson in particular, steal the show, elevating the film from its B movie writing and lack of originality.

The creature design stands out as another big plus from the movie. Albeit not incredibly unique it's brilliantly done and is one of the stronger monster designs of recent years. The horror in general is pretty strong, despite not pushing any boundaries. It doesn’t rely on cheap jump scares or random gore but builds up a well-made tension, which is something to appreciate in today's horror climate.

The film is engaging but it’s only when it's done that you realise it’s mostly down to smooth camerawork, music and solid editing. The director, Daniel Espinosa, did a great job breathing life into an overdone story bogged down by cliches, but ultimately the similarities to ‘Alien’ are inescapable even with ‘Life’s top notch acting, great score and strong thrills.

Worth Watching?

Yep. Don’t expect anything ground-breaking; switch your brain off and this is a decent sci-fi horror, that’ll certainly keep you entertained for its 2 hr run time.

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