Another sci-fi creature flick I remember growing up, based on the Phillip K. Dick story entitled "Second Variety." The film's screenplay was penned in part by the uber-nerdy Dan O'Bannon, who helped create the germ that would eventually become Ridley Scott's "Alien."
Starring in the film is Peter Weller (as Colonel Joseph Hendricksson, he's from "RoboCop"), Jennifer Rubin (as Jessica Hansen, she's from "A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors), and Roy Dupuis (as the cheese-ball, Becker).
"Screamers" is heavy on backstory, and has to do with two factions of humanity living on a backwater planet called Sirius 6B, The Alliance and the N.E.B. (New Economic Bloc) who are at war with each other--who really knows why--It has to do with radiation and nukes, I think.
In order to protect against invaders, the Alliance created Autonomous Mobile Swords, also known as Screamers. They got their name because of the squealing sound they make as they approach their target.
Alliance soldiers wear tags to keep themselves safe from the Screamers. Those who are not wearing their tags, are quickly dismembered and killed.
I should mention that the first type of Screamers borrow underground. It's reminiscent of the Graboids from "Tremors."
It's revealed as the film progresses that there are two more type of Screamers, some disguised as soldiers and others as little boys (Davids). Whoever is really behind the Screamers wants to wipe out all the humans on the crappy planet the film takes place on.
"Screamers" covers themes such as paranoia and how technology can actually do more harm than good.
So what did I think of it...hmmm...
Well, "Screamers" is both good and kinda meh.
As I stated above, the story is deep, but the film spends too much screen time explaining everything that I nearly fell asleep. Seriously? Show don't tell, c'mon!
On the other hand, the acting is decent, and Peter Weller does a good job, except for some of his line deliveries feel weird at times. Jennifer Rubin is alright, too.
The effects are sub-par, but there was a cool scene with a wonky stop motion Screamer. It's a low budget sci-fi flick from 1995, so you can imagine...
There's enough action happening to keep the audience interested, but the middle is pretty dry and boring. The highlights would be: the tense scene in the command center, the return to the Alliance base, and the final conflict between Henricksson and his old friend, Chuck.
Let's put it this way, if you like your sci-fi horror with a large side of silly, this one's for you. Funny thing is, they play it completely straight in the movie.
- Based on a short story by Philip K Dick. Score.
- Well. Starting a movie off with a good old fashioned dismemberment is always a fine idea.
- I think they spent a good $50 on this set.
- $40 of which was for smokes.
- Best line of the movie: "Aw, get your head outta the lilacs, man!"
- Special "red" cigarettes neutralize radiation poisoning. Huh.
- Aw, what a cute kid. And by cute I really mean creepy as hell.
- Said to a rock in surprise as it grabbed his hand: "If you're gonna be a rock...be a rock! Don't be a bug!"
- Normal kids don't have that much machinery in them, do they?
- Or teeth, right? I mean, that's really an excessive amount of teeth for a small child.
- "Whassamatter Ross? Rat got yer tongue?"
- Damnit Ross! You blew up the only remaining command console.
- Well, Ross is gone. And wouldn't you know it...not a Screamer.
- Whoa. That's a lot of small children each with excessive amounts of machinery and teeth.
- Well, down to 2 last people on the planet. That escape pod's looking mighty inviting right about now.
- Yay! Jamming the knife in the circuit box and wiggling it around made the thing work again!
- There was a lot of mechanical screaming during this movie. My dogs were not amused. I'm guessing neither were the neighbors.
robocop, alien and village of the damned
Despite this, Peter Weller is pretty entertaining and the movie does make for a decent Invasion of the Body Snatchers/The Thing style of sci-fi horror. If it were shorter (it's unnecessarily long), it might be better. Still, it's fine for a late night watch. It's one of those rare movies that if you have no expectations, it's great. However, if you have some expectations, then you'll likely not enjoy this movie.