Okay, so it’s like Alien, in that a bunch of people in space wind up with a smart, deadly xenomorph on board and have to figure out how to stop it. And it’s like Gravity, in that one of those people would rather be melancholy among the stars than miserable on earth. And it’s like The Martian, in that smart scientists are constantly having to innovate and recalculate based on new difficulties. And it’s like Independence Day, in that the critter has tentacles and sort of a rudimentary face. And it’s like Deadpool, in that Ryan Reynolds cracks wise and suffers horribly. What of it? It’s also unlike all of those films, in that director Daniel Espinosa is capably doling out tension over horror, personal sacrifice over personal crises, the limits of intelligence over its glories, animal instinct over alien malice, and genuine, endless darkness over its chuckleheaded imitation. Here is a story that knows how to put the nihilism in the vast nothingness of space. If you’re into that sort of thing. With Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Fergusun. (2017) — Matthew Lickona
This movie is not currently in theaters.