Calvin! – Life (2017)

Space survival.  This is about a group of astronauts on a space station that get tasked with looking after an alien organism.  It only starts microscopic, so it doesn’t seem like a tall order to fill, but it is growing at an alarming rate and it soon becomes apparent that the potential for violence is there if they don’t play their cards right.  Now this was a movie that did catch my interest, but I simply missed it in its theatrical run due to not having the time to see it.  As soon as it popped up on DVD services I jumped at the opportunity, even though generally speaking, I prefer to see space movies in theaters if only for the scope of it all.  I think that ended up accidentally being the right choice to make, because I’ve seen movies like this before, so the small screen makes more sense.

1 There’s Sunshine… and Alien…  and Event Horizon…

Now space horror doesn’t always hit its mark, and the king of the game is still the original Alien.  Whatever the case, as long as this ended up being better than Apollo 18, I was going to leave happier than not.  This ended up being middle of the road for me.  For one thing, this is filled with scientists that should know better.  Alien works so well is because its cast is blue collar workers who would have these natural reactions that get them put in harm’s way.  When everybody’s a scientist, it makes it tougher to question the logic in ignoring a quarantine because of emotions.  Also, you don’t really get to learn much about these characters other than one of them just had a child.  Because there isn’t any depth, you never care who lives and who dies, and please believe that this alien that they dubbed Calvin is hungry to rack up the kills in some of the most horrible ways to die.

2But let me touch upon a few positives.

Calvin is overly aggressive without good reason, but I’m okay with that, because he is just going off of instinct.  What I do like about this is that his intelligence improves as the movie goes on.  It’s an angle that you don’t get to see in most slashers, and that really is what this movie is: a slasher horror flick that happens to take place on a spaceship.  I also like Calvin’s design, and it isn’t simply a template that got lifted from another movie.  There isn’t anything fancy about this but it is enjoyable; I would describe it as a B-movie with a budget that sometimes succeeds.

Life (2017) ***

– Critic for Hire


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