Be careful what you search for


The six-member crew of the International Space Station is tasked with studying a sample from Mars that may be the first proof of extra-terrestrial life, which proves more intelligent than ever expected.

Title Life
Director Daniel Espinosa
Director of Photography Seamus McGarvey
Runtime 1 h 43 min
Certification R
Release Date 23 March 2017
Tagline Be careful what you search for
IMDb Id tt5442430

Review by Andy Hayler, 7 September 2017

The crew of the International Space Station successfully intercept a probe that has been to Mars to pick up soil samples. When analysing the samples they discover a small organism, the “life” of the title, to much initial celebration. This being a movie, things go downhill from there.  This is s pretty shameless rip-off of the classic Ridley Scott film “Alien”, with the crew of a small spaceship imperilled by an increasingly scary “other”.  What “Alien” did so successfully was to spend time with the characters, building up the tension, and getting you invested in the crew that were soon to be in a lot of trouble. This was partly careful scripting and partly excellent acting, neither of which are on display in “Life”. Instead we end up with an utterly predictable chase around the confines of the ISS, with one scene in particular an almost direct lift from “Alien”. At least Dan O’Bannon (the writer of “Alien”) had the decency to turn his previous movie into a comedy (the delightful “Dark Star”) when he realised that he didn’t have the budget to pull off the real thing plausibly – no such luck here.

There is the odd moment when you might jump if you have never seen a horror film before, but overall the film plays out in an obvious manner, even as far as the rather tacky ending. There are so many entertainment choices these days – you don’t need to invest one hour and 44 minutes of your life in this.



Review by Bart Hartgring, 22 May 2017

Scientists on the International Space Station are bringing back a sample from Mars, which turns out to contain -indeed- Life. It starts out as a single-celled organism, but it doesn’t take long for it to grow into a complex creature. Not surprisingly, as it grows and develops, it turns out to not be too friendly and soon this newly hailed Life form becomes a threat to all on board, and beyond…

If the plot doesn’t sound terribly unique, that’s because it isn’t. So a movie like that needs to bring something else to make it stand out – and in this case there is: money. This is a B-movie script on an A-movie budget. The cinematography is actually very good, the special effects are solid, and you can even find Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds on this space station, delivering forgettable performances.

But it remains hard to overcome the flaws in the script. The characters are pretty one-dimensional so as they start dropping like flies you don’t really root for anyone, you’re just watching to see who’s next.  As the Alien – oops, I meant alien- grows, it unfortunately loses most of the uniqueness it had earlier on in the film, and becomes ‘just another space monster’ hunting down humans. There is not much suspense and there aren’t really any scares either. The story just potters along to its ‘twisty’ end, which unfortunately also has also been done before.

Whilst it adds little to the genre of Finding Alien Life, it is not the worst way to while an hour and a half away as long as you go in with low expectations – and enjoy he pretty pictures. But it shouldn’t be terribly difficult to find a better movie to spend your time on.


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