“Life” is a movie about death, a strange sci-fi / horror hybrid that is certainly not destined to be a crowd pleaser. This dark, bleak film provides a few suspense-filled thrills but not nearly enough, and the paper-thin “Aliens” rip-off (or is it homage?) story feels all too familiar.
It’s predictable with far too much hokey dialogue and mildly schlocky scares, but at least the film is grounded with commendable performances, particularly from Jake Gyllenhaal, Hiroyuki Sanada, Rebecca Ferguson, and Ryan Reynolds as the ill-fated astronauts trapped onboard a space station with a killer alien. As the deaths begin to pile up, the bloody killings become repetitive and lose all impact (with the exception of the very first victim’s death scene: it’s effective, horrific, and upsetting). The film quickly becomes a bit of a snore when it’s made clear that the audience is in for more of the same for the next 90 minutes, and it ends with a twist that’s so predictable you’ll see it coming early on.
The special effects are wholly mediocre, which proves to be a significant problem because one of the film’s stars is an animated alien named Calvin, and there are plenty of exterior shots of the space station that look unsightly and very, very fake. Even worse, the hostile alien life form turned brilliant murderer plot is just plain dumb.
If you are a fan of science fiction and horror, you could do much worse, but you’d be better served by just re-watching “Aliens” instead.