New 'Life' Trailer Brings Terrifying Thrills from Mars (Exclusive)

Jake Gyllenhaal portrays astronaut David Jordan in "Life," a science fiction thriller in theaters March 24, 2017.
Jake Gyllenhaal portrays astronaut David Jordan in "Life," a science fiction thriller that hits theaters March 24, 2017. (Image credit: Courtesy of Sony Pictures © 2016 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved)

The thrill of space exploration takes an unexpected turn towards terrifying in this brand-new trailer from "Life," a science fiction thriller that will launch into movie theaters on March 24. 

In this exclusive look, we get a 2-minute, 32-second look at what just might happen if we actually do discover alien life on Mars. It's a short trailer, but there's a lot to unpack (including some tense still images), so let's take a look: 

The year is 2017 (hey, that's now!) and a crew of astronauts on the International Space Station are about to make history by retrieving the first sample-preturn probe from Mars. At first, everything seems great. We see an international crew of astronauts - quick look reveals Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia represented - celebrating the birth of a baby back on Earth (congratulations!). 

"Life" stars a crew of photogenic astronauts, among them Dr. David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal), who lays out the mission to capture the "research pod" from Mars. "This is the first capsule ever to come back from the planet," Gyllenhaal's Jordan says as scenes of the Martian surface - including actual views from NASA rovers - flash on the screen. Actors Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare and Olga Dichovichnaya also star in the film. [These Scary Space Movies Will Freak You Out]

We see glimpses of what life in space is like for the astronauts (fixing a shower, running on treadmills) before the capsule's capture. Reynolds even gets a line "Star Trek" fans (a group that includes me) will love: "I'm an astronaut, not a gym teacher."

Ryan Reynolds is astronaut Rory Adams in the science fiction thriller "Life." (Image credit: Courtesy of Sony Pictures © 2016 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved)

But as you'd expect, things quickly go from worse to catastrophic as the astronauts discover life in the Mars capsule that appears to grow fast and terrifying at cosmic speed. We learn that what ever it is from Mars may have destroyed all life on the Red Planet, and it's up to the space station crew to prevent the critter from reaching Earth.

Not since 2013's "Gravity" have we seen the International Space Station as shattered as we do in the new "Life" trailer, which closes with flashes of space action timed to lines from "Goodnight, Moon," a bedtime story book by Margaret Wise Brown that I read to my own daughter and will never think of the same way again.

"Life" isn't the first space movie of 2017 or even the first Mars-life themed one (the teen romance "The Space Between Us" which opened this weekend claims that title). But the upcoming film promises to be one heck of a sci-fi ride based on the new trailer, as well as the first view we got back in November. It doesn't hurt that both trailers showcase some truly awesome and realistic-looking spacecraft and spacesuits, which we at always appreciate.

"Life" is not yet rated and will hit theaters on March 24, 2017.

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.