Movie weekend: 'Life' finds alien terror within confines of space

By VnExpress, Reuters   March 23, 2017 | 05:57 pm PT
Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds and Rebecca Ferguson explore why space thrillers are so effective.

A deadly Martian creature hunts astronauts within the close, claustrophobic confines of a space ship in new thriller "Life," which is an exploration into mankind's hubris in its search for extraterrestrial life.

"Life," out in theaters on Friday in Vietnam and around the world, follows the astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as they discover and nurture a living organism from Mars.

As the alien life form, initially a cute little blob named Calvin, quickly grows and becomes stronger the astronauts find themselves fighting for their lives within the confines of the space station.

"When we go out and we take something from its natural habitat ... the question is when do we step over the threshold of ownership and maybe gradually create our own disaster?" actress Rebecca Ferguson, who plays the newest recruit aboard the ISS, told Reuters at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas where the film premiered.

Deadly aliens have long been a fascination for Hollywood movies, such as 1996's "Independence Day," in which aliens try to destroy Earth, and 1979's "Alien" in which an extraterrestrial monster hunts humans on a spaceship, much like the plot of "Life."

The appeal of a space thriller lies in the isolation and close confines of the environment, said Ryan Reynolds, who plays an engineer aboard the ISS.

"People love stories like that where you're stuck and you've got to deal with whatever problem you have in the five or six rooms available to you to neutralize it or do whatever you need to do, so I think it's kind of panic-inducing," Reynolds said.

The thriller is heightened by the zero gravity environment that the film is set within, said Jake Gyllenhaal, who plays a military veteran doctor on board the ISS. The cast spent the majority of the film shoot suspended on harnesses to emulate how astronauts move without gravity.

"You never really know what's up and what's down," Gyllenhaal said. "A horror film and a thriller where you don't know where that next thing is coming, it makes it four or five times more terrifying."

In Vietnam, the competition could be extremely tough for "Life" this weekend as box office record holders "Kong: Skull Island" and "Beauty and the Beast" are expected to perform well in their their third and second week respectively.

The live-action "Power Rangers" reboot is also arriving. Critics have not been very kind with the film, but fanboys and fangirls may not even care what the reviews say.

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