10th Feb2021

‘Anti-Life’ Review

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: Cody Kearsley, Rachel Nichols, Bruce Willis, Callan Mulvey, Thomas Jane, Stephen V. Murray | Written by Edward Drake, Corey Large | Directed by John Suits

Anti-Life! I went into this sci-fi offering knowing nothing about it other than Bruce Willis stars in it, it’s set in space and Thomas Jane is in it too… when did he become Thomas? What was wrong with being Tom? I like Tom Jane as names go but now he seems to be Thomas, I must get to the bottom of this.

For me, Bruce Willis in space seems like an automatic “Yes, Please”. It’s safe to say I was excited to see this one but it is becoming more and more apparent Willis is absolutely in the straight to DVD era of his career. Though this is not a bad thing because this tends to be when you find some absolute gem projects from the bankable stars of yesteryear. Movies that indie fans like myself have an insatiable thirst to fall in love with. Is Anti-Life one such movie?

Anti-Life is set in the near-future and features a whole bunch of people from TV and low-budget movies fame, with noticeable entry’s like Bruce Willis, Callan Mulvey and hugely underrated Stephen V. Murray. Some sort of devastating plague has befallen Earth and all these people are fleeing so they can start a new home on another planet as humanity’s remaining few. However, this is a movie, and it’s sci-fi, so enter into the fray a shape-shifting alien stowaway hell-bent on killing everyone on board Noah’s space ark. It’s up to Clay (Willis) and his band of misfit mechanics to take down the alien and save the the population of the Ark.

Now… I have never directed a movie so far be it from me to tear anyone’s work apart BUT I do feel like I am allowed to ask what happened here? The trailer for this movie is excellent, it even looked like Willis was trying to do something (actually do something, rather than stand around looking moody) for a change. The cast was all there for this to be a success, with the likes of Stephen V. Murray fresh from his scene stealing role on Snowpiercer. Cody Kearsley was great in Daybreak as Turbo so I had some high hopes here too and you know what, I even expected Willis to be decent – even given his recent DTV roles!

For me it comes down to the execution of the vision. The cinematography is only passable with dark and light scenes going way too far either way. This is a sci-Fi film, you have to embrace the vibrant darkness. The script is ropey too but gives the actors enough to chew on I suppose, however if your planning on ripping off the “ugly motherfu*****” line from Predator, I probably wouldn’t have two different characters drop the line 10 seconds apart from each other.

One thing I thought Anti-Life was doing very well, for the most part, was the body-snatchers style story – with the aliens taking control of the human hosts. I thought they were doing this very well and I liked it…… THEN came the inevitable introduction of the grand master alien and – oh my god – it looked awful, it was just this huge blob of sh*t that moved as awkwardly as a Dalek and truthfully wasn’t menacing. Alien controlled humans? Awesome! Big pile of crap master alien? Awful!

Would I recommend Anti-Life? I have to be honest I’m on the fence with this one. Yes it is exactly your standard low-key, low-budget, straight to supermarket shelves fodder; and yes it is full of people you know and love to see on screen, I mean I haven’t even mentioned Callan Mulvey, who I love as an actor but he does so little here, then again he has way more screen time than “4-minutes Jane”. Realistically though I do feel like this is a one and done, even the the movie rolled its own eyes at the “You’re not going to believe this” ending.

I am afraid as much as it pains me, I can’t give Anti-Life a great score. Honestly, for a better idea of what this director can do, go back to 2014’s The Scribbler… Now that my friends is a movie!

** 2/5

Signature Entertainment presents Anti-Life on Digital Platforms 12th February and DVD 15th February


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