Vault Movie Review: “Life”

Updated on August 13, 2019
Movie Beasts profile image

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Life

Theatrical Release: 3/24/2017
Theatrical Release: 3/24/2017 | Source

Synopsis

A group of astronauts and scientists aboard the international space station have made a ground breaking discovery. In a sample from Mars, they have discovered life. The life form is small, and has been in hibernation on Mars’ surface, but it has awakened while aboard the space station, Overwhelmed with excitement over their discovery, and overwhelmed with curiosity of the small life form, the team does not consider the possibility that the life form is dangerous.

However, it turns out that this little alien is very dangerous and absolutely should not be underestimated. It seems that the organism, and other organisms of its species, may have been responsible for a mass extinction on Mars, and now it is alive and well with the crew of the space station. The organism is gaining intelligence rapidly, and is growing more and more dangerous. Trapped with this monster, the crew must find a way to contain or eliminate the organism before it gets to Earth.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

The Pros
The Cons
The Premise (+4pts)
The Alien (-4pts)
The Cast (+4pts)
The Characters (-6pts)
The Horror & The Intensity (+5pts)
Bad Decisions (-4pts)
All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.
Source

Pro: The Premise (+4pts)

This movie’s premise was simple, and it was one of the best things going for this movie. A killer alien is let loose on a space station where there is really no escape. We have seen this premise before with Alien, but unlike Alien, Life is not an action movie. This movie focuses almost entirely on the horror aspect of this premise.

Yes there was plenty of horror in Alien, but it really played as an action movie. I will get into what I liked about the horror in Life, but that was definitely the filmmaker’s focus here. The premise was simple. It was a horror, monster movie, but by being set on a spaceship, there is no escape for the protagonists. This concept works so well because, they can hide for as long as they want, but they eventually need to confront what is hunting them. It is a simple idea, and one that has been done before, but it is effective.

Source

Con: The Alien (-4pts)

The alien itself was a bit too ridiculous for me. It was like this little, killer-goo thing, that was extremely strong, and was virtually invincible. This did not work for me for a few different reasons. The first was its size, appearance, and strength. It felt like there was a disconnect between its strength, versus its size and appearance. The thing was visually non-threatening, but it was strong enough to throw crew members around and absolutely dominate them. This disconnect made its interactions with humans feel more silly than scary.

The next issue I had was that the alien was essentially invincible. The writers, or filmmakers in general, made the alien impervious to everything. This was clearly meant to make the thing feel dangerous, and it did, but it was overkill to the point where it felt like the characters in the movie had absolutely no chance of survival. Part of the thrill in a horror movie comes from the hope that the characters might survive. If there is no chance of escape, and the monster is unkillable, that hope is gone. That was the case in this movie, and it took away a lot of the thrill. I was literally watching the movie, wondering why I should care about the characters or this story, because the characters were all clearly doomed.

Source

Pro: The Cast (+4pts)

The cast in Life (aren’t we all the cast in life? ... stupid joke) made this movie a lot better for a couple reasons. The first reason being the actors’ talent, and the second reason being their fame. Their talent helped because, while the story was supposed to be intense, the intensity would not have worked if the actors did not deliver. They had to act alongside a little, CGI glob, and act as if the thing was terrifying and capable of slaughtering them. The actors delivered the intensity, and made the premise feel believable enough to keep me watching.

The next thing that the cast brought to the movie was their fame. Their fame helped the movie in a couple ways. First, their fame got me to watch the movie and made it feel more like a real, Hollywood movie (as opposed to the kind of movie that would have gone straight to the Syfy channel). The fame also helped keep me watching. It was an entertaining cast, and I really had not seen any of them in a movie like this before. I kept watching, mostly out of curiosity, to see what they could bring to their characters and how they would do in a horror movie like this. They all did a good job with the movie's tone, but unfortunately, their characters got almost no development. This meant that there was really no material for the actors to flesh out on screen, but my issues with the character development deserved its own section in this review.

Source

Con: The Characters (-6pts)

To put it simply, the characters of this story had little to no character development. I felt like the actors tried to give their characters as much personality as they could, but the characters ultimately suffered from bad writing. In a horror movie, or really any movie, you are supposed to have some connection with the characters. For horror movies, you are supposed to care about whose lives are at stake. However, when the writers spend no time developing their characters, there is nothing for the audience to connect with. It was unfortunate, but despite having well-known, talented actors in the roles, I did not care about a single character in this movie. They were just nameless, random bodies for the alien to hunt.

Source

Pro: The Horror & The Intensity (+5pts)

This movie had some decent horror and it was certainly intense. Will it leave you scared after the movie is over? No, but it was decent enough to keep me watching. The majority of the movie consists of an incredibly dangerous and powerful alien that is hunting a bunch of scientists in a mostly poorly lit space station. The movie had plenty of horror and intense moments and, while it was not the scariest or most intense horror movie that you will see, it was enough to satisfy my horror craving.

Source

Con: Bad Decisions (-4pts)

This was one of those movies in which the entire plot relied heavily on its characters making bad decisions. I cannot stand when filmmakers do this, and more often than not, the excuse is that the character is either dumb or not great under pressure. That is usually a stretch, but whatever. This movie was very different.

These characters are supposed to be scientists and astronauts. They are characters that would have gone through extensive evaluation to prove their mental stability, and they would have been among the best in their respective areas of expertise, if they were chosen to go to space. However, with all of that being said, these characters repeatedly made bad decisions and there was no reason for it (other than the laziness of the writers). Using characters’ bad decision making as a plot device always bothers me, but it was exceptional in this movie. It contradicted who the characters were, as well as how they got to where they are.

Grading Scale

Grade
Category
Points
A+
Amazing
95-100
A-
Great
90-94
B+
Good
85-89
B-
Decent
80-84
C+
Average
75-79
C-
Watchable
70-74
D+
Bad
65-69
D-
Terrible
60-64
F
Garbage
45-59
Source

Grade: C- (74pts)

Life did not have a unique or original premise, but it was an effective one. We have seen this premise before with Alien and the movies in that franchise, but while those movies were action-horror, this movie leaned more toward the horror. The cast was filled with talented, well-known actors, who were unusual choices for a movie like this, and they were able to maintain my interest. The cast, through decent performances, did a good job of making the movie feel very intense and believable (despite how ridiculous the monster was). Unfortunately, the movie had its share of issues.

The alien was a bit too ridiculous, as its size and appearance were almost as ridiculous as the fact that the filmmakers made the thing virtually indestructible. This made it hard for me to care about the characters, because I felt like they were doomed. Giving the characters a fighting chance would have gone a long way in making me care about the characters, as I could have held on to some hope, but the characters were also just written really poorly. They got little to no development, so I was not invested in any of them, and the filmmakers resorted to using their poor decision making as a lazy way to keep the plot moving (even though these were scientists and astronauts who should have known better). This was a simple premise, with a surprisingly talented cast, but the filmmakers dropped the ball with the writing. Fortunately, there was enough intensity and horror to keep me watching.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image

      Michael115 

      11 days ago

      Wow! Now I am excited to see idiots get their faces munched on. But there's still one more movie in theaters for me to see. Once that's out of the way I will catch up on older movies.

    • Movie Beasts profile imageAUTHOR

      Bryan Ouellette 

      11 days ago from Hudson, MA

      Agreed! At some point you stop feeling bad, cause you think they kind of deserve it

    • profile image

      Michael115 

      12 days ago

      It's always nice to have a movie to sit back, relax, and watch a bunch of idiots get massacred!

    • Movie Beasts profile imageAUTHOR

      Bryan Ouellette 

      12 days ago from Hudson, MA

      Hahaha, yeah that’s this movie in a nutshell. Don’t worry, you won’t care about anyone on board

    • profile image

      Michael115 

      12 days ago

      An indestructible alien on board a ship and an idiotic crew? Guess I will check this movie out when I feel like watching a bunch of crew members get eaten by a monster.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)