Rollercoaster in Space: “Life” Movie Review (2 1/2 Stars)

I hate scary movies. I hate alien movies. But I love the adrenaline that I get from both. And sometimes, when filmmakers take risks on what appear to be tired genre films, the outcome is so refreshing.

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Jake Gyllenhaal in “Life”

Life doesn’t bring much new to the “aliens attacking humans in space” genre. It doesn’t have a super creative script that brings a new outlook for audiences. But I’m pretty sure everybody involved in this film knew that. Because what Life refreshingly does do is bask in the sheer horror of the story.

Alien is the defining film in the genre obviously. The movie has become so iconic and has spawned numerous sequels and an entire mythology around the films. Life has been called an Alien-knockoff numerous times now, and I think that’s an unfair sentiment.

What Life does well is takes away all the mythos that Alien provides, grounds it’s backstory (it’s very little backstory) in science, and then just let’s the thing go!

Life is a rollercoaster of a film!

If director Daniel Espinosa does one thing perfectly in this film: it’s pacing. The movie just flies by and is absolutely terrifying. Any of the moments he lets the pace slow, it’s only to create even more suspense. At a succinct hour and 40 minutes, the movie just takes off from start to the very last frame. All absolutely horrifying.

I think the filmmakers know that this movie will never live up to Alien- and they’re ok with that fact. They skip trying to build up character’s back stories and relationships (which normally I would tear them apart for), but if that’s what you’re looking for, you’re missing the point of the film: fun.

This film grabs you and doesn’t let you go until the very lost moment. I was very actively squirming in my seat and looking away at many moments! It’s not a perfect film by any stretch of the imagination, and I’ll probably have forgotten it even exists in a year or two. But for the hour and 40 minutes I spent in a theater this afternoon, my heart was racing and I had quite a fun time. And sometimes that’s all you need.

Awards Prospects: None

⭐️⭐️ 1/2

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