It took a while to wrap my brain around the fact that this was a Tobe Hooper film. It almost seemed too good. Not to say he’s just in the realm of silly b-movies, but a high scale sci-fi action flick just didn’t seem to match. But then again it’s about space vampires in the end, so I suppose that may make some sense.
A mysterious spacecraft appears out in space orbiting the moon, so a shuttle is sent up to investigate. As they enter the inner chambers, the large umbrella-like structure at the end begins to open up. This provides access to the inner sanctum where three humanoid figures are suspended in crystal cases. They decided to bring them back home, but soon after lose contact with Earth.
A second shuttle is sent up to try and contact the first. Upon docking, they see the dried bodies of the crew minus the captain. The three figures however were still present and safely returned to Earth. There are plans to dissect the bodies, since they appear to be sufficiently dead, but this proves to be a mistake since they simply wake upon being touched. This is followed by a lot of life sucking and an eventual escape.
This starts of a chain reaction since people who have had their life essence sucked out, don’t really die right away. They stick around for a while trying to find another host to steal. The relief is only temporary though, and naturally the process become exponential after that. There are some inconsistencies with the amount of time they take to finally turn to dust. This lead to some confusion on my part, but I eventually figured out what was going on.
The three originals however are different and can jump bodies to avoid death. Their essence remains mobile, so although bodies were found after their escape, it mattered little since other turned up exhibiting the vampiric behavior. Eventually the epidemic hits London, and with the higher population of course everything spins wildly out of control. At this point the umbrella in space starts acting like a giant satellite dish to collect the souls that are firing up into the sky.
Looking back to the original shuttle mission, the captain was found in his escape pod, so he plays a critical role in the solution to the problem. Patrick Stewart shows up mid-way through for some reason, but is underused. I’m not quite sure what his role was, but it’s a shame he didn’t get a lead role.
Lifeforce is pretty epic. They employed decent special effects, and the cast was rather large. For a sci-fi flick, it ended up being pretty epic. At a running length of almost 2 hours, it didn’t drag so much, but felt like the beginning was ages ago and almost like a different movie. A small nitpick though, as it was generally enjoyable.