I’m not sure why Life got a hard time. Sure, it brings nothing new story-wise to the genre, but it’s executed well enough to make it a decent watch. The impression left by social media was of a thoroughly dull experience, which it certainly isn’t.
The International Space Station provides a great setting; this isn’t the future and everything looks how we would expect it to. But what has really stuck with me, and made rather uncomfortable through my viewing, was the gruesomeness. I’ve seen far gorier films, but there was something personal about the deaths. Space is a lonely and dangerous place; add in something so willing to invade your personal space and…well ewww basically.
If you’re after a thrilling and economical bit of cinema, you can’t go far wrong with Life. Not hitting the heights of it’s simply comparisons isn’t a problem. A decent set of performances mix with some unsettling visuals and tight editing to provide a solid follow up to Duncan Jones’s first piece, Moon (check that out too!).