A lot of the time, the effort I put into talking about science-fiction films is reassuring people that a lot of them aren't super scary, actually. Passengers for example, thought it was not the greatest movie overall, was not exactly a horror film. And though Arrival featured aliens, it wasn't remotely scary at all either. Interstellar? Sci-fi and intense, but not terrifying. But the new film Life, starring Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal as two in a group of astronauts who find a life form on Mars and get trapped with the creature on their space ship, is a different story. How scary is Life? Well, let's just say the alien in it is no cute little E.T.
If you're into sci-fi but not horror, and you enjoyed the aforementioned films from the past few years because they weren't super scary, I'd recommend steering clear of Life, because it has a tone and story that is meant to freak out viewers. The premise alone should give you a hint at how scary it's going to be: several astronauts get trapped on a small space ship with a powerful and rapidly growing alien. That setup — enclosed space, a threatening "other," a handful of people who can slowly be plucked off and killed one by one by the threat — is straight of a horror movie. Whether it's slashers or monsters or aliens, the "it's coming from inside" vibe is all horror.
The second hint that Life is no picnic is the movie from which it appears to get its inspiration. The plot for Life should sound familiar to those who love alien movies, because it's got a few similarities to the mother of them all: Alien. In Alien, a science-fiction classic from 1979, a space crew brings a seemingly dead alien onto their ship before it is revealed that the alien is still alive, and it's not friendly. There are a lot of horror elements in Alien, and it really encapsulates all the qualities of a good science fiction horror film, which Life will hopefully contain, as well.
If you're still unsure of just how scary this movie will be, though, check out the trailer. There are two trailers out, a regular one and a red band one, and any film that has a red band trailer is basically either filthy or scary. After watching the red band trailer, I can confirm that Life definitely falls in the latter category. There is tons of tension and shock, and even just in the trailer there are multiple jump-scares and lots of terrified panting. So yeah, while science-fiction definitely doesn't have to be scary, it absolutely can be, and Life's viewers should expect to be freaked out.