LIFE — Review by Susan Granger

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Several years ago, renowned British scientist Stephen Hawking cautioned that contact with alien life could spell disaster for the human race: “If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the American Indians.” But Hawking’s grim warning has not deterred cosmic exploration. Read on…

After Mission Specialist Rory Adams’ (Ryan Reynolds) risky retrieval of a damaged capsule containing valuable soil samples from Mars, the crew of the International Space Station’s Pilgrim 7 has reason to celebrate.

Along with Adams, astronauts Miranda North (Rebecca Ferguson), David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal), Sho Murakami (Hiroyuki Sanada), Ekaterina Golovinka (Olga Dihovichnaya), and Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare) are concluding their eight-month exploratory mission.

And when Science Officer isolates a microscopic single-cell organism in a petri dish and feeds it glycerin, it becomes the first proof of extraterrestrial life. Satellite viewers from Earth cheer and a group of children from New York name the specimen “Calvin” after their Calvin Coolidge School.

Resembling a translucent, star-shaped octopus, Calvin begins to grow, quickly adapting to its environment, becoming stronger and smarter. As excitement builds, Calvin escapes containment, becoming a multi-tentacle predator, extinguishing members of the crew one-by-one, despite their often foolhardy attempts to save one another.

As the Science Officer observes: “Life’s very existence requires destruction.”

Scripted by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (“Deadpool,” “Zombieland”) and stylishly helmed by Swedish director Daniel Espinosa (“Safe House,” “Easy Money”), the futuristic concept seems scientifically plausible, grounded in its own horrific reality.

Seamus McGarvey’s sweeping cinematography reveals the claustrophobically cramped containment of the eerie space station, while composer Jon Ekstrand’s score enhances the sinister suspense.

(Full Disclosure: My son, Don Granger, is Executive Producer of “Life.”)

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Life” is an intense 8 – a tantalizing thriller.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.