This familiar space alien slasher film formula works, but doesn't break any ground.
Is it worth $10 Yes
In space, no one can hear you scream...Oh sorry wrong film. But "Life" really feels familiar in a lot of the same xenomorphic ways to “Alien.” Not too many surprises, but a steady stream of action and tension keep things interesting.
A space crew aboard the International Space Station high above Earth intercept a probe, carrying samples from Mars. Crew members find a startling discovery of ancient life that they successfully awaken. The life-form, intent on survival, escapes and puts the entire crew at risk, and possibly even the Earth itself.
The first thing you notice in director Daniel Espinoza's ("Safe House" and "Child 44") space horror opus is the grand beauty of space and attention to detail. He captures the claustrophobic feel of the interior of the space station, which adds to the tension, as the movie progresses. Ryan Reynold's part is thin, but he injects some good humor as the station's repair expert. Jake Gyllenhaal plays the out-in-space for too long army vet doctor with ease, and Rebecca Ferguson is the well-intentioned CDC specialist who couldn't have planned for this outcome. The score is deep and foreboding and echoes the empty vastness of space. The alien named "Calvin" is a diabolical and highly intelligent squid looking creature that amazes at how fast it learns and how brutally it wants to survive.
Unfortunately, this is more of a "B" movie with a high budget and slightly better writing. It's not a carbon copy of "Alien," but there are a lot of similarities. With "Alien: Covenant" coming out this year, "Life" will probably be the "Dante's Peak" to it's "Volcano," but it's still worth a big screen viewing.
There is a rumor that this is the R-rated prequel to the recently announced "Venom" film from Sony. Without spoiling anything, I really can't see that being the case. There isn't any Marvel branding or Easter eggs, and "Calvin" doesn't look like the Venom symbiote. That said, if they have some grandiose plan to connect the two, I would be even more intrigued to see "Venom."
With a slight drought of horror in theaters right now, "Life" satisfies your creepy craving and gets you ready for the inevitable plethora of slasher, haunted house, and other horrific and horrible genre entries coming at you this year.