Sunday, February 10, 2019

SCREAMERS (1995) Blu-ray review

Screamers (1995) d. Christian Duguay (Canada) (108 min)

Set in the far-off future of 2078, a violent 10-year war rages on between the loyalist Rebel Alliance and the splinter faction of the New Economic Bloc, with Col. Joseph Hendrickson (Peter Weller) assigned to protect the distant Sirius 6B outpost from the NEBs. Assisting him in the cause are Autonomous Mobile Swords, manmade killing devices programmed to eliminate all life forms, dubbed “Screamers” for their high-pitched mechanical whine as they sweep underground like supersonic moles. Unfortunately for both sides in the conflict, the artificially intelligent Screamers have begun to evolve and mutate, transforming from easily identifiable robots to cybernetic creations that look disturbingly… human.

Based on Philip K. Dick’s short story “Second Variety,” the screenplay by Dan O’ Bannon (Alien, Dead & Buried) and Miguel Tejada-Flores (Revenge of the Nerds, Fright Night Part 2) exhibits a fair amount of potential, but spends far too much time in spent in setting up what is essentially a very slight plot – it’s nearly an hour before we encounter the titular carnage-chewing creations in their full glory. The “character development” for our small ensemble of players (Roy Dupuis, Andy Lauer, Charles Powell, Ron White) extends to such one-note signposts as “the guy who chews on his hoodie laces,” “the macho dude who quotes Shakespeare,” and, in the case of Jennifer Rubin, “the hot, smart-mouth chick who takes sponge baths in front of people 10 minutes after meeting them.”

Weller provides his usual stoic cool, but it doesn’t do much to enliven the dystopian drabs, and the final act where our android antagonists reveal their new shape-shifting abilities feels out of character and only there to provide cheap twists. With a few trims and an additional script pass, this might have been a minor sci-fi classic instead of the not-bad offering it is.


“Northern Frights” – Interview with director Christian Duguay (Scanners II, Scanners III) (21 min)

“Orchestrating The Future” – Interview with producer Tom Berry (Dear Mr. Gacy) (24 min)

“More Screamer Than Human” – Interview with co-writer Miguel Tejada-Flores (Frankenstein’s Army) (11 min)

“From Runaway To Space” – Interview with actress Jennifer Rubin (Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors) (19 min)

Screamers is available now from Shout! Factory and can be ordered HERE:


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