Life Reviews Suggest Next Great Sci-Fi Horror is Here
The reviews for Life are starting to pour in, and as we suspected, director Daniel Espinosa and Deadpool and Deadpool 2 screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have the critics enthused. When we interviewed Reese and Wernick last December, they told us that their primary inspiration was arguably the most iconic sci-fi horror film of all time, Ridley Scott’s Alien:
“It’s been 40 years almost since Alien came out,” Reese said. “I think in some way it shares a little DNA with Alien, no pun intended. But it takes the idea of a sci-fi thriller and horror to a very new and different place. Whereas Deadpool’s goal is to make you laugh, this one’s goal is to make you sweat and get goosebumps.”
It looks like they’ve achieved their goal. Life focuses on a team of astronauts (Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds) aboard the International Space Station who make one of the most important discoveries in human history: the first evidence of extraterrestrial life on Mars. Naturally, the life form they’ve found turns out to be hostile as all get out. Let’s take a brief tour of some of the critical responses to the film thus far in this spoiler-free roundup.
I09’s Evan Narcisse writes that while the premise of Life will be familiar to any sci-fi horror fan, the filmmakers have given it a jolt: “…human beings encounter extraterrestrial organism, terrifying things ensue, just as in Alien, Predator and other classics. But while that most basic plotline does describe what happens—Life is the smartest, sharpest version of man vs. ET to come along in a long while,” Narcisse writes.
Variety’s Peter Debruge writes, “the aptly named Life isn’t just about making a landmark discovery that could provide clues to life’s “nature, its origin, and maybe even its meaning”; it’s also about the biological imperative for survival, and the way in which even the cleverest humans will ignore their training in order to prevent their own deaths, and those of the people they care about.”
The Playlist’s Drew Taylor writes, “Life is lean, mean, and terrifying. It doesn’t have much to say beyond ‘hold up, maybe we shouldn’t poke around uncharted terrain so much,’ but with actors this committed, set pieces this exciting, and direction this confident, it doesn’t really matter.”
And Uproxx’s Mike Ryan writes that while Life is clearly an homage to Alien, “it’s a good one. It felt purposely claustrophobic and it was scary and it has a nifty sort of twist at the end that was genuinely disturbing.”
Life premieres this Friday, March 24.