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Movie Reviews

Screamers  

Released quietly back in 1996, this interesting little movie is pleasantly surprising and somehow manages to leave an odd feeling when the credits roll. Mysterious...

Okay, so maybe its just me, but then consider this: 'Screamers' is based on a short story called 'Second Variety' by Philip K. Dick - he of Blade Runner fame. The movie was also shot entirely on barren wasteland plains in Canada, lending an effective and eerie atmosphere. What is most bizarre though is the ending, which I won't spoil for you, but is what would be expected from a Philip K. Dick adaptation. On the other hand I could speak on behalf of most of the other people who've seen 'Screamers' and tell you that it is boring, dull, occasionally nonsensical and generally poorly constructed. Depending on what mood you're in, I guess you could go either way.

The story concentrates on Colonel Hendricksson, a brooding Peter Weller whose performance greatly contributes to the film, who is moping about the distant mining planet Sirius 6B, pondering whether he should try to negotiate peace with the New Economic Bloc, the greedy federation responsible for a decade of war. Finally he sets off on his mission but must cross a wasteland inhabited by the grim 'Screamers' of the title, a product of recent battle technology. However these gnashing predators have somehow managed to self-replicate and now reveal themselves in a variety of forms. Their history is also shrouded in mystery, and as Hendricksson begins to discover their origins and why they are setting about ripping soldiers (who they are supposed to be fighting for) to shreds, he realises that they play a much more important role in the war, one that goes straight to the top of the chain of authority.

Althought the special effects are at times stodgy, the production values are high eventhough director Christian Duguay (he directed the two 'Scanners' sequels) only had $11 million to work with. The locations are effective and chilling, although some may look incredibly similar to a 'Safeways' car park. The acting (apart from Weller) is, unfortunately, nothing special, particlarly Jennifer Rubin who's character is boring and underwritten. Overall though 'Screamers' is a decent and occasionally intriguing film - don't go rushing out to rent it though, scrape together some loose change as you're passing 'Blockbuster's' or catch it on late night TV and give it a try. You might just like it.

Simon@HAM Movies

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