Crafted in the same vein as Ridley Scott's iconic Alien, Daniel Espinosa's Life is a survival horror film set in the close confines of space, which finds six astronauts unexpectedly coming face-to-face with a hostile alien life form. While Life's obvious comparisons to Alien are hard to deny, it's a rather lazy comparison in a lot of ways, as Daniel Espinosa has crafted a film that does enough to separate itself from the Ridley Scott's film, due primarily to the film's much more optimistic tone in the onset, which slowly descends into panic, chaos, and a biting cynicism about humanity that it hard not to gleefully enjoy. In Life, a crew aboard the International Space Station has just made one of the most important discoveries in human history, the first evidence of extraterrestrial life. Tasked with studying the sample, the crew's exuberance over their groundbreaking research soon turns deadly, as the organism becomes hostile towards the crew. Trapped in claustrophobic setting of the International Space Station, with a mysterious creature that they don't know much about, the crew enters in a deadly game of survival which could not only determine their fate, but the fate of the human species on Earth. A tightly paced, engaging horror film, Daniel Espinosa's Life wastes little time getting to the meat of its story, setting up a tense experience in which the fate of the various crew members remains unpredictable from start to finish. The film's creature is unique and horrifying, in what is perhaps best described as a space squid, a rapidly growing creature thats brute strength is only matched by its intelligence. Life falters at times when it aims for moments of levity early on, thanks Ryan Reynolds, and while much of the film's emotional beats fall flatter than intentioned, I couldn't help but find myself enjoying the cynical undercurrent which envelopes the entire film. As horrifying as this mysterious creature is, Daniel Espinosa's Life as a film attempts to, sometimes haphazardly, deconstruct life and death in the scope of survival, demonstrating how this mysterious and deadly creature isn't merely killing for joy or pleasure, but doing what it deems necessary for the sake of survival. While it doesn't completely work in the context of the film, one could certainly argue that this creature is simply trying to survive in its own right, with humanity's intrusion into its habitat for the sake of science, setting it off in the first place. Couple this observation with David Jordan's (Jake Gyllenhaal) overall cynicism about humanity, and Life becomes a fascinating study of humanities inherent flaws, whether intentional or not, deconstructing the inherent selfishness towards one and other we all share. The crew members themselves don't adhere to this message, quite the opposite when faced with the horrific circumstances of a hostile alien life form, yet Life never wavers from its undercurrent of cynicism about the relationship between life and death, fully acknowledging that the creature itself may have the same rights to life as our main protagonists. While Daniel Espinosa's Life is best enjoyed as a tight, intense science fiction horror film where one doesn't have to think, the film does offer up some fascinating understated commentary on humanities' darker aspects, with the film's sinister conclusion only further supporting the above assertions about Life's underlying message about life, death, and survival.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.