Netflix has one of my favorite horror sci-fi movies ever — and you just need to watch it

Jake Gyllenhaal peering through a window in "Life" movie (2017) on Netflix
(Image credit: Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Releasing)

I've always been a sucker for a good horror movie, especially when it blends perfectly with the suspense of sci-fi. The thrill of the unknown, the eerie silence of space, and the creeping dread of something going horribly wrong — it’s a combination that’s hard to resist. So, when I stumbled upon one of the best movies about aliens on Netflix, I knew I had to watch it again. 

“Life” isn’t just another flick about space gone wrong. Oh no, it’s an intense, gripping thriller that keeps you engaged from the first second to the very last scene. The atmosphere in this movie is palpably tense, and the performances by an all-star cast, including Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds, are nothing short of stellar. 

If you’re a fan of intense space adventures with spine-chilling horror, then “Life” should be your next watch. Trust me, this is a truly underrated movie that wasn't talked about enough when it first came out, and you won’t want to miss it on one of the best streaming services

‘Life’ is incredibly thrilling from start to finish

LIFE - Official Trailer (HD) - YouTube LIFE - Official Trailer (HD) - YouTube
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"Life" is a gripping horror sci-fi movie that will make you uncomfortable, but trust me when I say it adds to the experience. It’s set aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and follows a group of six astronauts and scientists who are on a mission to study a soil sample retrieved from Mars, hoping to find evidence of extraterrestrial life. 

As you probably predict, humans and alien organisms don’t often mix well. As seen in my favorite sci-fi franchise “Alien”, chaos follows when an organization wants to gain control of and use a dangerous lifeform (of course, the Xenomorph always wins). It’s the same in “Life”, except the group only wants to study it rather than use it as a weapon. 

So, what could possibly go wrong? Upon examining the samples, the group on board the station discover a dormant, single-celled organism, which they name Calvin (yes, really). The organism begins to grow and evolve rapidly when exposed to an atmosphere containing oxygen.

Initially, Calvin appears to be a harmless and even fascinating discovery, but it soon becomes clear that the organism is highly intelligent and possesses a dangerous level of adaptability and strength. 

Seeing Calvin start as a somewhat “cute” organism and then morph into a rageful creature will always be a highlight of the movie. Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare), a British scientist who is the first to study Calvin, becomes emotionally invested in the organism because he thinks it's harmless. And boy was he wrong.

Every character reacts like a real person would if this situation were to occur, and it makes the movie that much more believable, and terrifying.

Ariyon Bakare as Hugh Derry in "Life" movie (2017)

(Image credit: Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Releasing)

Aside from the angry alien creature, one thing I really appreciate about “Life” is its ability to explore the unknown while still maintaining a high level of suspense and action.

Throughout its runtime, I’m either clinging to the edge of my seat, shouting at the screen, or suffering from an unbelievable amount of tension. And while it may not sound like it, all of these reactions are signs the movie is incredibly worthy of a watch. 

If you still need a little bit more convincing to watch this movie, then maybe the stellar cast will sway your decision. “Life” stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Dr. David Jordan, a medical officer who has spent more time in space than on Earth.

Rebecca Ferguson plays Miranda, a CDC quarantine officer who is responsible for ensuring that any potential contamination from space is contained. Then we have Ryan Reynolds as Rory, a maintenance engineer who provides much of the movie’s comic relief (obviously, it’s Ryan Reynolds). 

Other cast members include Derry’s character Ariyon Bakare, Hiroyuki Sanada as Sho, a Japanese astronaut who communicates with his family on Earth, and Olga Dihovichnaya as Ekaterina, the commander of the ISS. 

I urge you to watch ‘Life’ on Netflix

Ryan Reynolds floating in the hallway of a space station in "Life" movie (2017)

(Image credit: Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Releasing)

If you're looking for a thrilling movie to watch one evening or at the weekend, I urge you to watch “Life” on Netflix. It’s an interesting exploration of humanity’s curiosity and the potential perils of discovering alien life. This also makes it perfect for anyone who loves the “Alien” franchise, and if you don’t, “Life” is still a great movie to experience. 

While “Life” doesn’t exactly bring anything new to the genre, nor does it stand out as one of the best thrillers in space, it’s still everything you'd want out of a horror movie set in space. The visual effects are up to par, bringing the terrifying alien creature to life in a way that feels both realistic and horrifying. 

So, if you're a fan of science-fiction and horror — or if you simply enjoy well-crafted, suspenseful movies — “Life” is definitely worth streaming on Netflix. You can also check out the best summer horror movies or read my take on the incredible “Alien: Romulus” trailer

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Alix Blackburn
Staff Writer, Streaming

Alix is a Streaming Writer at Tom’s Guide, which basically means watching the best movies and TV shows and then writing about them. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer for Screen Rant and Bough Digital, both of which sparked her interest in the entertainment industry. When she’s not writing about the latest movies and TV shows, she’s either playing horror video games on her PC or working on her first novel.