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Life by Jon Ekstrand (Review)

posted May 1, 2017, 10:21 AM by Leo Mayr

Life
 sees director Daniel Espinosa reunite with composer Jon Ekstrand. The movie follows a group of scientists aboard the International Space Station who encounter a not so friendly extraterrestrial creature. The film has frequently been compared to Ridley Scott's 1979 masterpiece Alien, and while those comparisons are definitely justified, Life manages to distance itself far enough to be a strong movie by itself.

The score consists of mostly orchestral music with only a few electronics appearing near the film's ending, and while the first minutes of music did strongly remind me of Jerry Goldsmith's Alien, the score quickly distances itself from it. The first few pieces of the score consist of calm, emotional pieces, carefully setting up the characters and the main mystery.  When things do start to spiral out of control, Jon Ekstrand proves himself to be quite talented at subtly increasing tension, before going all out in frantic action sequences. The film contains surprisingly few jump scares, instead wonderfully building up tension both visually and musically. Ekstrand handles the emotional side of things nicely, and while there are no stand out themes or motifs you'll be humming on your way home, the music fits the film's narrative wonderfully. While a lot of the score relies on strings and percussion for the action, Ekstrand brings in heroic brass in some places. The orchestral sound fits the movie perfectly, starting with beautiful, calm music, before suddenly plunging into chaos before electronic textures dominate the film's climax. Ekstrand uses choir to great effect throughout the score, creating some breathtaking moments. The score's orchestral sound immediately feels at home with sci-fi horror, yet manages to stand on its own with Ekstrand's use of electronics near the end creating a stunning shift in the score.

While Life isn't the most original movie to come out this year, it is a more than competently made sci-fi horror movie. With Ridley Scott's Alien: Covenant just around the corner, Life still manages to be a strong movie well worth seeing. Jon Ekstrand proves to be more than capable of composing an orchestral sci-fi horror score that wonderfully supports the movie, and presents listeners with a fun and thrilling experience.