Overall Rating: 2.6/5
Director: Daniel Espinoza
Watch If: You like a good helping of drama in your horror.
Not If: You only want to see Ryan Reynolds. It's not worth it.
Similar To: Apollo 18, Prometheus
The Bare Bones: A spaceship crew discovers proof of life embedded in a surface sample from mars, but the struggle for survival escalates when the creature escapes its enclosure.
I have no issue with people using old concepts in their own work, but if you're going to do that, make sure you can bring something new to it. This didn't. It felt like a bad remake of Alien, and it might just be the same movie as Apollo 18, just with a slightly cooler monster.
The acting wasn't bad, but with the cast they pulled out for this one, I wanted at least care about their characters. I didn't.
There are a few scenes that are a bit mind bending. They took advantage of the fact that the story took place in a low gravity environment to get some interesting shots.
The alien is very pretty. Honestly its somewhat comparable to the plants in Avatar. (Not the M. Nigh Shyamalan disaster.) I also vastly enjoyed seeing how the creature had changed from scene to scene. I wish they had kept that up the entire way through.
While it starts of well, and definitely has some tense-worthy scenes, I just wasn't invested. They kill off the characters I like too quickly, and the result is that, for a good half of the movie, I couldn't care less about the protagonists. There are parts where it's painfully obvious that it is supposed to be sad, and it's not. The characters are supposed to be experts, and they come across as bumbling idiots.
The monster does all the work. The crew will try something, and when they fail to do it, the movie just goes, "Welp. Guess the monster's invincible." They give no reason why things don't work, but pretend they do. like, "well we have bad aim with a flame thrower, guess fire can't hurt it."
The most compelling scenes are all but over looked, while agonizing chunks of time are spent on pointless, uninspiring things.
At least the scenes with the actual monster were cool.
*SPINOFF IDEA* Calvin vs. Apollo 18's rocks.
The characters were either boring or dead, and I wasn't presented with enough setup to morn them as a team.
There are, however some clever and unique death scenes in this one, but not clever enough to make up for the wasted 12 minutes of reading a kids book. (Exaggeration?)
The Vast majority of the qualms I had with Life could be overlooked, but the one thing that I cannot ignore is this:
I was actively hoping that the characters for whom I was supposed to root, would die. In basic horror, you have two types of protagonists. What I call the Shit-stain, protagonist, this is the asshole that everyone hates. Maybe it's his fault, maybe he's just a jerk, but you hate him. You want the monster to get him, because for whatever reason, he deserves it.
That character isn't in this movie, and that's fine. But if I'm supposed to like your characters and want them to live, you need to give ma a reason to.
And I didn't Hate all the characters. Hugh was a tragic character, and I enjoyed the ever-mounting futility of rooting for him.
So what this tells me is that they had the capacity to make their characters likeable, and just didn't.