Sci-fi has long been an excellent source of horror, from the campy sci-fi of the 1950's, through Alien in 1979 to Event Horizon in 1997. The red planet Mars has long been a source for these alien monstrosities, though we now know it to be mostly barren and mostly dry. Does alien life exist on Mars? And what would happen if we found it?
Life (2017) begins with the recovery of some martian soil samples that were almost lost due to an unexpected meteor shower. Rory Adams is an astronaut aboard the International Space Station that manages to catch the samples before they plummet into Earth's atmosphere and burn up. When going through the soil samples, a microscopic bit of extra-terrestrial life is discovered. It's just a single-celled organism, and it looks dead, but the biologist thinks it's just hibernating. Once he manages to wake it back up, however, you know what happens! That's right. All hell breaks loose!
Let's start with the cast. Ryan Reynolds (Green Lantern, Deadpool) plays Flight Engineer Rory Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko, Nightcrawler) plays Crew Medical Officer Dr. David Jordan, Hiroyuki Sanada (47 Ronin) plays Systems Engineer Sho Murakami, and Rebecca Ferguson plays Dr. Miranda North from the CDC. I don't know any of the rest of the cast, but obviously these are all veteran actors anchoring what I would say is the pretty bog-standard plot of an alien sci-fi horror movie: Recovered alien escapes to wreak havoc! Then again, just because it's been done before, doesn't mean these guys didn't do an excellent job of it.
This was an expensively-done movie. Just hiring the cast would have cost tens of millions of dollars, and I'm surprised I haven't heard more about this movie before now. It almost looks like they borrowed the real ISS to shoot the scenes in, which is just crazy talk. Aside from the excellently-done special effects, I fucking love that they named the alien Calvin, and it has a personality all its own. No nudity, but there's lots of blood, and how do you go wrong with a Martian named Calvin? That's right, you just can't. I'm a little pressed for time tonight, so I can't really give this movie all the love it deserves, but I would definitely watch it again. It flows really well from beginning to end, and though I saw the end coming a mile away, it was still a fun ride getting there. Check this one out on Starz Edge, if you get the chance.
That's all for tonight! Catch you guys tomorrow for another horror movie review! Can I do it? Can I review 31 movies in one month? I've done it 8 times before, but who knows! Maybe this is the year I will fail! Won't that be funny, and simultaneously, horrific? :-D