Though slightly more ambitious than the usual alien-on-Earth exercise, this low-budgeter is generally content just to go through the motions.
A Viking II rocket returns from a trip to Mars and touches down near an Army base in the southwest. The craft is taken inside, where a foreign object is discovered on it; the pod proves to be the incubator for an alien creature. The extraterrestrial soon breaks out and escapes into the base, which
is sealed up and put on quarantine. Case Montgomery (Cotter Smith) and Dr. Gracia Scott (Deirdre O'Connell) lead a team of soldiers and scientists in tracking down both the lifeform--which feeds on electricity--and Jeffers (Raoul O'Connell), a private believed to be infected by it. After claiming
a few victims, the alien is killed and autopsied, and an unhatched egg is removed from the remains.
Jeffers proves actually to be suffering from appendicitis, and while Dr. Scott begins to operate on him, two other soldiers discover the egg has hatched. The new alien, after quickly growing to maturity, breaches one of the base's walls. With quarantine broken, the entire base is nuked. Soon
thereafter, it is discovered that another Viking lander is approaching Earth.
"You just let a potentially dangerous exobiological lifeform out of quarantine, and now the whole building is contaminated!" From that snippet of dialogue, it's pretty easy to tell how the story of LIFEFORM will proceed: Dr. Scott spouts plenty of techno-jargon and questions like "What is the
point of exploring space if we're going to kill everything we meet?" while the colonel in charge (Robert Wisdom) simply wants the invader killed. There are a few minor variations on the standardized story, but it's telling that the most dramatic plot development involves not the alien but Jeffers'
The acting is generally competent or better (aside from the unconvincing Raoul O'Connell); Alterian Studios' alien effects are well-crafted (particularly the final, centaur-like incarnation); and the plot never slides into silliness or tedium. But the movie is so cut-and-dried, it's difficult to
work up any real enthusiasm for it. The only unpredictable element is the surprisingly downbeat ending, which suggests a harder edge that might have benefited LIFEFORM had it been applied throughout. (Graphic violence, profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1996
- Rating: R
- Review: Though slightly more ambitious than the usual alien-on-Earth exercise, this low-budgeter is generally content just to go through the motions. A Viking II rocket returns from a trip to Mars and touches down near an Army base in the southwest. The craft is… (more)