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It's just surviving. Life's very existence requires destruction. Calvin doesn't hate us. But he has to kill us in order to survive.
~ Hugh Derry to the crew on Calvin.

Calvin is the main antagonist of the 2017 science fiction horror film Life. It is a deadly multi-cellular alien organism that is believed to have wiped out all life on Mars, therefore becoming an apex predator.

Calvin was later found and retrieved by six crew members aboard the International Space Station until he mutates into a monstrosity and escapes into the rest of the ship where it starts to cause carnage in his wake.


The lifeform was discovered as a sample of organic tissue, but began to grow into a multi-cellular form upon absorbing water and nutrients. Each cell belonging to Calvin is a muscle, a nerve and an eye at the same time while it is also semi-intelligent. Calvin was presumed to be a species who lived on Mars and dominated the Martian soil. In a "hibernation" state, the crew wake Calvin up, it's first priority is clearly to grow in second and then ravage the crew.

Calvin becomes aggressive after being shocked by Hugh, attacking his hand while he is testing Calvin in the lab. Calvin then breaks Hugh's hand and uses a needle to escape from the container. Calvin then enters another container where a lab rat is being kept. After being bitten by the rodent, Calvin consumes the animal and grows slightly larger.

Rory attempts to kill Calvin with a flamethrower, but fails and the alien enters his mouth and devours his organs. Calvin escapes from Rory's body, accelerating his growth, and escapes from the lab via the vents due to the flamethrower.

Calvin is next seen when it grabs onto the ship's captain Ekaterina while she is in space trying to fix a vent. Calvin causes her suit to break, which then water flows into her helmet, drowning her. However, she was able to prevent David from opening the door and letting Calvin back in. Despite this, Calvin makes his way into one of the thrusters.

Calvin then attaches itself to Hugh's leg which he doesn't feel because of his disability and feeds on him. Hugh tells the crew that he believes that Calvin wiped out all existence on Mars, and that it's only surviving. The blood loss kills Hugh and after the crew discover Calvin, it proceeds to chase them.

Another ship then arrives and attempts to knock the international space station (and the crew in it) into space to prevent Calvin from reaching Earth, but Sho mistakes the ship for a rescue ship and tries to get into it. After a struggle with Calvin, Sho prevents it from getting onto Miranda. Calvin kills the crew of the failed safety ship and Sho is dragged into outer space.

The last two survivors of the crew, David and Miranda, come up with a plan to lure Calvin in David's pod that he will sacrifice himself to stop the lifeform from going to Earth. However, Calvin controls David's arm, and Miranda's pod is hit by debris, causing her to fly into out space. David's pod crash lands onto Earth and lands in Vietnam, a fisherman opens the shuttle-hatch and sees Calvin slowly eating David. The film ends with Calvin's fate unknown, as it's assumed that it was killed by the military, or wiped out all of life on Earth. However, it is possibly revealed that Calvin might not doom humanity straight away and instead seek for means to communicate with.


Calvin resembles a white translucent cnidarian of some kind or a multi-headed planarian. Its translucent skin allows its circulatory system to be visible underneath its skin. As the film progresses, Calvin grows larger and absorbing and feeding off the crew, making his appearance look more grotesque.

Powers and Abilities

  • Superhuman Strength: Calvin demonstrated great strength, being capable of breaking a human hand with ease. When confronting David in his pod, Calvin used his tentacles to hold David back, and slowly feeds off him when crash landing to Earth.
  • Accelerated Growth: Calvin can absorb whatever it eats or consumes, accelerating his growth to an unnatural rate. Human life and animals also accelerate his growth, as it eats their organs and fuels itself to increase its growth. An example is when Calvin eats Rory's insides and came out of his body stronger and bigger.
  • Human-level Intelligence: Calvin showed itself to be highly intelligent, as it killed the entire crew. Calvin was also tactical and strategic, hiding from the crew and taking them out when they as least expected it.
  • Absorption: Calvin can absorb whatever it wants, being able to collect the objects or things' energy or blood to accelerate its growth.



  • Calvin was named by American schoolchildren soon after its discovery.
  • It's somewhat similar to The Blob:
    • Both kill and absorb their victims.
    • Both appear to want to wipe out life on Earth (but the end of Life leaves the film ambiguously if it succeeds in doing so).
  • It's also similar to the Xenomorph from Alien.
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