"Life" Contributes Terrifying New Alien to Sci-fi Genre

By TOM MOORE
On March 27, 2017

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore, Wikipedia

“Life” uses some of the tropes and plot devices seen throughout the sci-fi/horror genre and breathes new life with an extremely terrifying, uncontainable alien and a setting that feels haunting.

The film follows a group of astronauts (Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds) as they discover a new living organism from Mars. As they take care of the creature and watch the organism grow, the creature evolves beyond what they imagined and the crew finds themselves in a deadly cat-and-mouse game. Now, with no contact back to Earth and the alien slowly growing and evolving as it makes its way through the ship, the crew must work together to not only kill the alien but make their way out of the cold, dead space.

“Life” uses incredible visuals to create a unique feeling of being in space and actually makes a more realistic feeling of astronauts in space with scenes that connect the astronauts’ actions to Earth. When showing scenes of Earth, the reactions of people to the astronauts feels genuine and make the movie different from other sci-fi films. When back in space, the movie’s visuals give an interesting take on space life. Audiences will be interested in scenes where water droplets are seen floating through the air because of the zero gravity. For instance, when an astronaut begins to cry, her tear begins to float through the air rather than stream down her face.

The cast is also a standout as they work well with one another and their characters feel unique even though they do feel like tropes at times and very stereotypical. Often times they can be easily broken down into character types that audiences can easily recognize. The plot itself also can feel very unoriginal at times and audiences will feel like they have seen many of these kind of plot points in other sci-fi movies. “Life” very much follows the “anything that can go wrong, will” plot and this kind of storytelling can get old at times. Not to mention, the film’s attempt at a “Gotcha!” style ending is completely predictable and audiences will see it from miles away.

But this kind of unoriginality feels embraced rather than detracting. “Life” never feels like it takes itself too seriously and still brings plenty of new life into the sci-fi genre; thanks to its ever-evolving alien. Audiences will be terrified, intrigued and haunted by the alien’s presence, intelligence and strength. The alien is truly unique and audiences will be further interested in it as it evolves into a new form that is creepier than the last.

Overall, “Life” is a fantastic sci-fi that uses its more unoriginal plot points and characters to make a more claustrophobic and intelligent film that feels uniquely fresh. For those wanting to see a film that blends horror and sci-fi flawlessly, “Life” is a must-see.

tmoore3@ramapo.edu

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