In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Monday, April 3, 2017

April Showers IV: Day One

Coming back the very next year, here we go with the fourth edition of April Showers! Seven days, seven reviews. It makes me look like a glutton for punishment I know, but a week-and-a-half of atrophy caused a log-jam of reviews, so it's really my own fault. First up, is Life, the recent sci-fi/horror flick from Daniel Espinoza.

After a group of astronauts aboard the International Space Station activate the dormant cells found inside a soil sample brought back from Mars, things go bad very quickly.

Life was yet another project whose script I happened to read beforehand with my group. I thought it was one of the best – or least the most cinematic – scripts we'd read up to that point. After watching it, I can say that the result was a pretty good representation of what was on the page.

Jake Gyllenhaal in Life.

I was initially surprised by the negative backlash the movie received after the first trailer. People were like, oh it looks like an Alien/Gravity rip-off to which I thought, but yeah, doesn't that sound like something you would wanna watch??? It was funny actually because in the script, the alien life form was described as more of a Blob-like creature, so hells yeah, I'd see that movie! It turned out the filmmakers actually ended up giving the alien an actual form, making it ultimately more like Alien than The Blob, but the creature design was decent, so I was fine with it.

I have to admit that I was pretty impressed with the digital effects. I think my main concern when reading the script was how they were going to pull off some of the action sequences, but Sony sunk enough money into the production to make them work. I thought two (the lab and the spacewalk sequences) in particular were really pulled off well. I was worried that the lack of the creature in the trailer was too hide its shitty CGI, but I'm happy to report it was probably one of the best rendered creatures I've seen in a while. I thought that, at times, it even showed real personality through its problem solving intellect.

Never, ever, ever a good idea.

It wasn't all gravy though. I think the consensus when we read the script was the first two acts were pretty strong, but things got muddled from there. The ending was fairly obvious on the page and unfortunately, this transparency wasn't fixed in the final product either. Overall, I thought Life was a pretty fun ride, despite sharing several beats with the iconic films that came before it.

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