Life Reviews: Scary B-Rated Romp That Goes In For The Kill

It might be far from a polished motion picture, but Life is still worth the price of admission if you enjoy some well staged horror scenes according to critics. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds and Rebecca Ferguson with Deadpool writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese creating the screenplay, the science-fiction installment has been met with mixed responses.

With a budget of just $58m, there were rumors circulating that the title might be a precursor to the Spider-Man Marvel spinoff Venom. Whether that proves to be the case or not, the Daniel Espinosa picture makes an admirable attempt to recreate a movie within a genre that has been mastered and mishandled before.

Smart People Making Dumb Decisions

Rebecca Ferguson in Life

Peter Debruge of Variety argues that the movie retreads over the same old paradox of horror history in space. Seeing the most brilliant minds on the planet essentially parting with all common sense to encounter these deadly creatures.

Life’s a thrill when it’s smart, but it’s even more exciting when the characters are dumb — which is ultimately a paradox the film wears proudly, to the possible extinction of the human race," he quips. "As 'we are not alone' scenarios go, Life is no exception, although it’s unusually intelligent for so much of its running time... Still, overlook its inevitable wah-wah ending and Life is far better than the trailers made this me-too outer-space opus look."

Giving a B rating for something of a glorified B movie, The Playlist explain that the thrill-a-minute ride will have some audience members gasping for a break, while others will love the intense pace.

"There are moments of genuine white-knuckle suspense and set pieces that are elaborately constructed and dutifully executed. Sure, there are a couple of moments that would have benefitted from having more time to breathe and there’s the aforementioned issue with the characterization being somewhat unbalanced, but there’s just as much to be said for a movie that goes in, f***s s*** up, and gets out as quickly as possible."

Eerily Close To Alien Narrative

Ryan Reynolds in Life

Coming so soon before Alien: Covenant, Life threatens to steal the cues of Ridley Scott's franchise. As John DeFore of THR believes the movie should not venture further into that territory if the studio green lights a follow up.

"The picture struggles to find a satisfying rhythm as the members of this multinational, co-ed team get slooshed up by Calvin (creature) or suffer related lethal mishaps," he remarks. "Genre fans won't be too shocked by the way that plays out. But most would be quite surprised if Life's hints at a sequel lead to even a single spinoff, much less the decades-long afterlife enjoyed by Ridley Scott and Dan O'Bannon's versatile face-hugger."

Giving a 3/5 star review, Don Kaye of Den of Geek points out that the film is great viewing if you don't take it too seriously.

"Despite its flaws of characterization and structure, Life is still fun. An inch-deep but serviceable monster movie that stars one hell of a creepy creation... Life may be more B movie than classic, but it would not be surprising to see a 'restored deluxe edition' show up as a Scream Factory Blu-ray 10 or 15 years from now."

Life opens in theaters March 24.

Source: The Playlist, THR, Variety, Den of Geek