DAY EIGHT OF 31 DAYS OF HORROR
LIFE - 2017
"I know what I feel is not rational, not scientific."
Everyone called this an Alien ripoff. And I totally get it. But I'm not going to touch on that here, I'm just going to look at Life as its' own original film and review that.
The Pilgrim 7 is returning from Mars to the ISS with a sample that contains evidence of extraterrestrial life. Six people are currently on the ISS including Hugh who is an exobiologist. He collects the cell and it soon revives it but after an accident in the lab, it goes dormant again. They name the new organism Calvin and after a few tests to try and get it to come alive again. It does. With a vengeance. And soon hell breaks loose in the ISS and the crew must fight for their lives while also stopping it from going to Earth.
There's a great cast here who fully manage to hold their own in this claustrophobic environment. Ryan Reynolds plays the goofball Roy, Jake Gyllenhaal plays the constantly overwhelmed medical officer David, and Hiroyuki Sanada plays Sho. My only confusion is why Gyllenhaal signed onto this movie. His acting abilities are profound, and he's one of my favorite actors, but in Life he just felt under used.
Daniel Espinosa handles the camera well in this tricky environment and it creates for a realistic type look into the ISS. Unfortunately, I found myself confused most of the movie because the script is not strong. Everything moves so quickly, which you'd expect of an alien horror/sci-fi film, but it seems like the script can't keep up. There were so many moments that I was asking Mitch what the hell was going on and why that guy was suddenly dead. It wasn't enjoyable to be so lost all the time.
Calvin is really awesome. It's final form is like a giant, evil, sting ray with a creepy little face and I really like it. The effects didn't take me out of the moment and I loved how Calvin evolved throughout the film and got smarter and smarter. There were some great scenes where you could actually see Calvin trying to learn how to fix a problem and I felt that was really unique. Instead of just going for "alien form = intelligent beyond belief".
I adored the ending. A really great twist that I didn't see coming at all, and neither did Mitch. We were both happily surprised. And I loved the sort of drop in your stomach you feel when it's all revealed. I read up on the ending afterwards to see what Espinosa had to say about it and I really liked how he explained it. It's not a set up for a sequel, it's meant to make you question everything about Calvin's intentions and form your own opinion.
Overall, Life is just a regular sci-fi/horror film that doesn't bring anything new or exciting to the genre. But it gives enough excitement to keep you relatively hooked throughout the film. To those new to the genre, I think they would really love it.
As you may have noticed I have gone completely off script for my original 31 Days of Horror list. All I can say is bare with me - I have taken on far too much this month including planning three parties, making my Halloween costume, building an entire D&D campaign for November, and my regular day job plus working for other sites. So at this point I'm just watching whatever I can get my hands on! I'm thinking after this week I'll be back on track following the list!