Gyllenhaal breathes ‘Life’ into alien invasion genre

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Eight decades after “Flash Gordon” hinted that aliens might not have our best interests at heart, mankind still risks destruction in the movies to make contact with extraterrestrial life.

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From Frederick Stephani’s 1936 big screen serial through the $1.2 billion “Alien” franchise to last year’s “Independence Day: Resurgence,” the heroes of more than 500 space invasion films have been lining up to die in new and inventive ways.

This year’s first sci-fi blockbuster is “Life,” a claustrophobic game of cat-and-mouse between the crew of the International Space Station and a rapidly evolving life form that caused extinction on Mars and now threatens all life on Earth.

Set in the near future, Daniel Espinosa’s breakneck-speed thriller hits theaters Friday with an international cast led by A-listers Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds.

“The script, pacing-wise, was blistering and terrifying. I mean, when I was reading it, you get to a couple of moments in the script, I was legitimately anxious, which is a very good sign,” Gyllenhaal told AFP at a press day in New York.

The film reunites Reynolds with his “Deadpool” writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, although this white-knuckle suspense horror is short on the snarky humor that marked the 2016 superhero movie.

“There’s nothing scarier than something that’s just trying to survive and knows a little more than you do,” Reynolds said at the world premiere at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, on Saturday.

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