Anti-Life (2021) – Film Review
Set in the near future, Anti-Life sees a spaceship flee a devastating plague on planet Earth with a few thousand survivors on board – the last remnants of humanity. Unbeknownst to the crew, the ship has a stowaway: a shape-shifting alien whose goal is to slaughter everyone on board.
Whilst the organism is technically a parasite rather than a shape-shifter, it does allow for a useful metaphor.
Like an alien taking on the form of another to blend in and advance its agenda, this film seeks to copy and imitate many other sci-fi horrors that have gone before. Such as Alien, The Thing and even Slither. The problem is that a copy is never as good as the original. So when Willis phones in a play on the famous lines from The Thing and Predator, instead of a knowing wink or laugh from the audience, the result is an exasperated sigh. One that is the equivalent of the atmosphere in the cinema being sucked out of an air lock.
Like the vaccuum of space, the film is also devoid of anything resembling a three-dimensional character. This reviewer would struggle to provide the name of any other person on the ship, let alone any defining characteristics or backstory beyond Willis making moonshine… which itself becomes the Power Loader from Aliens deus ex machina.
Actually that’s not completely fair. The main character is called Noah and one can deep dive into the filmmaker’s ambitions of having someone called Noah being a stowaway aboard an intergallatic ark fleeing a life-ending event…
The majority of the crew are simply there to be as extra-terrestrial cannon fodder. Each one getting succumbing to the alien parasite in the same stretch of corridor which is inventively filmed and lighted from different angles to look like the film had a bigger set and budget.
Looking at the credits, Cody Kearsley is the nominal lead. However he is sidelined in the third act to allow Willis to go “Yippee Kay-Yay” on these intergalactic MFers.
The problem is Bruce Willis looks completely bored and uninterested in the film he is making. So why should the audience have a different reaction?
Anti-Life may dream of being the next Alien. Unfortunately it is the case that in this space, no one can hear you sigh from boredom.
Signature Entertainment presents Anti-Life on Digital Platforms 12th February and DVD 15th February
Director: John Suits
Stars: Bruce Willis, Cody Kearsley, Rachel Nichols, Thomas Jane
Runtime: 92 minutes