Life (2017)

Life is a 2017 American science fiction horror film directed by Daniel Espinosa, written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds. The film follows a six-member crew of the International Space Station that uncovers what initially seems to be the first evidence of life on Mars; however, the crew finds their discovery might not be what it seems.

The 6 member team on the ISS are able to successfully capture of a space probe returning from Mars with a soil sample. The crew is tasked with studying the sample, which contains the first proof of extraterrestrial life. After extracting a single-cell from the sample, Biologist Hugh Derry is able to revive the dormant organism with atmospheric adjustments and glucose. It grows into a multi-celled organism quickly evolving at a decent rate and getting named as “Calvin” by children who won a contest back on earth. After an atmospheric accident in the lab, Calvin becomes dormant and a concerned Hugh tried to revive it using a mild electric shock. Calvin reanimated and becomes aggressive, grabbing hold of Hugh’s right hand, ultimately crushing it as Hugh struggles to get free. It shows signs of advanced intelligence escapes the containment cube into the room with Hugh. While it devours a lab rat and immediately grows in size, engineer Rory Adams enters the room and rescues Hugh.

Calvin however attaches itself to Rory’s leg and crew captain, Dr. Miranda North, locks Rory inside the room to keep Calvin in containment. Rory manages to remove Calvin from his leg and begins to attack it with a handheld incinerator. Calvin shows remarkable resilience to fire and evades Rory’s attacks until the incinerator runs out of fuel. Calvin then attacks Rory and forces its way into his mouth, killing him from the inside. Emerging from Rory’s mouth, evolved and even larger, Calvin then manages to escape from the room through an emergency fire suppression vent. Hugh theorizes that the lack of breathable air on Mars is probably what kept the organism dormant until that point. Katarina goes out on a spacewalk to fix the antenna when they discover that communications to earth is down and she too is attacked by Calvin who consumes coolant as a source of nutrition and ruptures Katerina’s EVA suit’s coolant system, effectively drowning her inside her suit. Calvin attempts to enter the station through the thrusters. An attempt to stop Calvin results in the ISS entering a decaying orbit. Engineer and pilot Sho Murikami informs the crew that they need to use the remaining fuel to get back into a standard orbit, but that it would allow Calvin back into the station.

The crew try to suffocate Calvin by sealing themselves into one module and venting the atmosphere from the rest of the station. When Hugh suddenly enters cardiac arrest, the crew resuscitate only to realize that Calvin had attached itself to Hugh’s leg and was feeding off of him. Now having grown into a much larger tentacled creature, Calvin attacks the remainder of the crew. Sho hides in a sleeping pod while Miranda and David lure Calvin away using blood from Hugh’s body and trap it in the module to deprive it of oxygen. Earth Control send a Soyuz capsule as a fail-safe plan to push the station out towards deep space and prevent any chance of the organism entering Earth. The capsule docks imperfectly against the module where Calvin was contained. Presuming it to be a rescue attempt, Sho leaves his pod and rushes to board the arriving ship. He enters the module and attempts to manually open the hatch to enter the capsule. As soon as he opens the hatch, Calvin attacks him. The imperfect docking results in a breach and the resulting explosion sends the capsule spiralling and damages the ISS, as Calvin kills Sho.

Temperature and oxygen levels drop in the station & David and Miranda realize that the incident has also caused them to re-enter the decaying orbit that will culminate in re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. Since they cannot allow Calvin to reach Earth, David plans to lure Calvin into one of the pods before manually overriding the system to fly deep space, thus letting Miranda escape in the other pod to return to Earth. This works initially as Calvin is inside the pod with David and Miranda leaves in her pod Her pod however hits space debris from the ISS and is knocked off course. Calvin attacks David as he struggles to send his pod into deep space. The earthbound pod lands in a body of water near two Vietnamese fishermen. As they approach the pod, it is revealed to be David’s, with David encased and trapped in a black substance. Meanwhile Miranda screams helplessly as her navigation system fails and her pod is hurled into deep space. David, still alive, tries to warn the fishermen to not attempt a rescue. As the fishermen open the pod door, more fishing boats arrive. The screen then cuts to black.

We are left to assume that Miranda dies alone in space, drifting along alone in the dark while Calvin escapes and creates havoc on earth. We don’t know what is the fate of the alien or the humans on earth. It’s a story that has been done before and the film offers nothing new but I still found it a good enough film and entertaining enough. Though my main complaint is that Reynolds is only in the film for 25 minutes, his character Rory having been the first to die. I’d give this film a 7.5 outta 10!

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