In 1979, Ridley Scott's Alien made such a quintessential impact on both the genres of horror and sci-fi, remaining to this day as the perfect example of how to blend the two so effectively. There have been many films that have taken inspiration from Scott's classic, the latest being Daniel Espinosa's Life, a sci-fi horror set a little closer to home.

Aboard the International Space Station, a six-member crew perform the successful capture of a probe returning from Mars with a soil sample. Amongst the sample, the crew find the first proof of extraterrestrial life, which they begin to study. When the organism, named Calvin by people back on Earth, shows how far it'll go to survive, the crew realise they, as well as all life on Earth, are in serious danger.
I have to say that I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Life overall, much more than I thought I would as a matter of fact. Yes, the film hardly reinvents the wheel when it comes to sci-fi horror, and it certainly borrows elements from other films of the same ilk however, Life deserves a chance for managing to keep me on the edge of my seat right up until the film cuts to the end credits.

The film lacks originality in its story, a crew fighting for survival against an alien life form having been done so many times before, but the film is smart with the majority of its dialogue as well as knowing that it has to deliver characters that we are going to care about. Life definitely does so, taking the time to introduce us to the crew before the main event occurs.

The film's visuals aid Espinosa in creating a tense and claustrophobic environment aboard the International Space Station, Seamus McGarvey's cinematography swiftly taking us from compartment to compartment, akin to Calvin's movement throughout the film. Speaking of Calvin, I thought the design and effects both played a major part in making me enjoy the film more, Calvin blending in with the surroundings rather than sticking out like a sore thumb.

Coming to the performances, Life doesn't feature anything outstanding by any means. What it does feature is a cast you know you're going to get good performances out of, including Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds and Rebecca Ferguson. I was worried about Sony wanting to have Reynolds do his Deadpool gimmick, just in space, but thankfully they avoided that. 

Like I've said, Life hardly reinvents the wheel in any shape or form but I had plenty of fun watching this film unfold, a film that went up in my estimations with the ending they decided to go with. If you're looking for tense evening at the cinema and like a bit of gore in your horror, Life is definitely a film you might find some fulfilment from.

Verdict: ★★★


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