Life Early Reviews: A Fun If Derivative Alien Riff

Early reviews for new science fiction thriller Life have been released, with the new movie making good impressions at SXSW Film Festival.

Life Movie Poster Ryan Reynolds Jake Gyllenhaal Rebecca Ferguson

Science fiction properties are very much once more at the forefront of entertainment, with television series Stranger Things picking up legions of fans at the back-end of 2016, and numerous big-screen releases set for later this year. One of those hitting theaters is Life; directed by Daniel Espinosa with a screenplay from writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, and Ryan Reynolds, the film follows an international space crew who hope to make some life-changing discoveries on Mars. When they realize that all life on the planet has been wiped out by a huge threat, however, they end up wishing they hadn’t made the journey at all.

You can read SPOILER-FREE excerpts from the eight early reviews below – click on the corresponding links for each to read the reviews in their entirety:

Business Insider UK – Jason Guerrasio

“Life is the perfect buy-the-ticket-take-the-ride Saturday night movie. If you’re looking to cuddle up and squeeze your partner’s arm for 100 minutes, this is for you. It’s a thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time and has an ending you will never see coming.”

Variety – Peter Debruge

“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.”

Uproxx – Mike Ryan

“No one will do the ‘alien kills people on a spaceship’ genre better than Ridley Scott did in Alien. Most sensible people will agree on this. But that doesn’t stop Life from being a pretty good, and scary, reimagining of this scenario.”

LRM – Edward Douglas

“For diehard fans of science fiction, Life is a welcome addition to the genre, even if it may not be as entertaining to mass audiences as The Martian or others, mainly because it is slower and more grounded in reality than the science fiction movies to which modern audiences have become accustomed.”

Jake Gyllenhaal in Life

Den Of Geek – Don Kaye

“Its second half is a derivation of Alien and every other film in which a dwindling band of humans must fend off an otherworldly threat in an enclosed space, watching each plan to defeat the thing end with another body on the floor (or, in this case, floating in the zero gravity). The cast is good but the characters are paper-thin.”

The Playlist – Drew Taylor

“It’s a B-movie, through and through, knows exactly what it is. To quote another movie currently in theaters, choose Life.”

THR – John DeFore

“The movie wastes little time watching as this thing grows, escaping its Petri dish in a (literally and figuratively) gripping action scene. Before long, it has become a starfish-shaped jelly creature, and has claimed its first victim.”

Indie Wire – Jonathan Poritsky

“Life spends its first act building up some big ideas, but eventually unravels into another monster movie in space.”


Despite this being a relatively small sample size of reviews, it’s good to see that critics are for the most part rallying behind this new space adventure. In a year that’ll also see the release of Ghost in the Shell and Alien: Covenant amongst many others that could slide into the confines of the sci-fi genre, there was always the chance that Life could fall to the wayside. Fortunately, that doesn’t look to be the case.

Of course, there’s always the chance that hugely negative opinions could make up the majority of future reviews when the movie is opened up to all. Public reaction can sometimes have a bigger impact than the words of critics, so hopefully those who are paying to go and see Life will come out with similarly positive views. Otherwise, the flick could end up being buried before it even gets a chance to take off.

Next: Life Director & Writers Support Venom Prequel Theory

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