Sci-fi is making a comeback. Star Wars is killing it on the family-friend side of things, while Alien: Covenant will give the genre a fresh injection of horror this year. Sitting somewhere between those two movies on the spectrum is 2017's Life, a space survival thriller from director Daniel Espinosa, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds and Rebecca Ferguson.
#Life is a highly entertaining movie which delivers big genre thrills, but if you're squeamish or opposed to horror, is it for you? Obviously the first thing to do is check out the trailer below. Then, we'll talk about how scary Life really is.
If you're still here, you haven't been totally scared off by that trailer. That's a good omen. To answer the question of how scary this movie is, though, I'll have to share a few minor spoilers, but nothing major (ie. who dies) will be revealed in this article.
How Scary Is 'Life', And Is It Horror Or Thriller?
A lot of the time when movies set in space are scary, the #horror is more psychological. Occasionally, an Alien comes along in which the horror is more visceral — explicit gore and blood. Life sits pretty squarely in the middle, with long periods of sustained psychological tension and brief bursts of gruesome body horror.
It's not a massive spoiler to reveal that four of the six people on board the space station end up being killed by the alien, and the first death in particular is brutal.
The creature disappears down the throat of one of the astronauts, killing him from the inside. The whites of his eyes fill with blood but his actual death is prolonged over a period of at least a minute, after which his body floats morbidly through a sealed chamber until the alien emerges again. If you're at all squeamish or can't stand the sight of blood, this sequence will definitely not be your cup of tea.
That's about thirty minutes in, and although the alien does strike again, most of the horror after that point is much less visceral and more derived from tension. There are several jump scares throughout when the alien appears from nowhere to terrorize the crew. Again, if your nerves shred easily, this film is not for you.
- The Brilliant Twist Ending Of 'Life' Makes It A Horror To Remember
- Reynolds And Gyllenhaal Goof Around Adorably While Promoting 'Life'
How Bad Is The Language, And Is There Any Sex?
When you're being stalked by a murderous and hungry alien, I'd imagine anyone's natural reaction is to curse, and Life does pack some explicit language into its compact 100 minute runtime. Although it's not overly frequent, there are uses of words like "f-ck", "sh-t", "Jesus Christ!" and "motherf--ker!"
On the other hand, there is no romantic subplot and no sex on-screen (or even any suggestion of it). These guys are too busy for that. One character does watch a Skype feed of his wife back on Earth giving birth, but the birth itself is not shown.
Is 'Life' Suitable For Kids Or Teenagers?
As always, that question doesn't have a universal answer. Many older teenagers (16+) will definitely be okay with the psychological aspect of Life, but common sense should be deployed — if you don't like horror as a rule, you probably won't like this. There are no 'corrupting' themes, but the ending is pretty chilling (and a lot of fun!). Obviously this is not a movie for younger kids, though.
In summary, most older teen and adult audiences will be impressed by Life's smart storytelling and highly effective scares, but it's as much a horror as a thriller, making it more a movie for fans of Alien than Star Wars.
Life is in theaters now.
Did you find Life scary? Share your experiences in the comments below.