A group of humans arrive on Sirius 6-B to investigate an SOS signal sent out from the planet, which has been supposedly deserted since the destruction of the man-made weapons known as "... See full summary »
A group of heavily armed hijackers board a luxury ocean liner in the South Pacific Ocean to loot it, only to do battle with a series of large-sized, tentacled, man-eating sea creatures who had already invaded the ship.
(SIRIUS 6B, Year 2078) On a distant mining planet ravaged by a decade of war, scientists have created the perfect weapon: a blade-wielding, self-replicating race of killing devices known as Screamers designed for one purpose only -- to hunt down and destroy all enemy life forms But man's greatest weapon has continued to evolve without any human guidance, and now it has devised a new mission: to obliterate all life. Col. Hendricksson (Peter Weller) is commander of a handful of Alliance soldiers still alive on Sirius 6B. Betrayed by his own political leaders and disgusted by the atrocities of this never-ending war, Hendricksson decides he must negotiate a separate peace with the New Economic Bloc's decimated forces. But to do so, he will have to cross a treacherous wasteland where the deadliest threat comes from the very weapons he helped to create.Written by
Nicolas LeBlanc <email@example.com>
On the way out of NEB HQ, when Jefferson jokingly repeats the line "Can I come with you?" we see Hendricksson from behind as he points his rifle upward and away from Jefferson. When we cut to a front view, he is still pointing the rifle forward. Then we cut to a rear view again and the rifle is still pointed upward. See more »
Screamers Crawl Narration:
[voice over narration]
For the last fifty years, the new economic block, the 'N.E.B.' Corporation, has controlled mining operations throughout the known solar systems.
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a combination of Phillip K Dick and Dan O'Bannon in a better than average/less than great sci-fi flick
Screamers is like one of those made-for-HBO science fiction programmers from the mid 90s, except that there's some brighter things going for it. One of these is that it's based on a short story by one of the hallmark authors of science fiction, Philip K Dick, and another is that the script mostly got work done (and seems most noticeable) by Dan O'Bannon, writer behind Alien and Return of the Living Dead. There's more weight in levels of irony, not always the uproarious variety but more nuanced and violent, more in putting some good twists to the clichés that are taken for granted in stories set in desolate futuristic environments (the discovery of a cute abandoned child, the devilish nature of the 'screamers' themselves and how their more advanced counterparts work, the personalities of the crew that Peter Weller's character discovers at the base, and how each member soon dies/gets killed off). This might also be attributable to O'Bannon, who tackled this in his previous successes in films, but to say who is totally responsible for what can only be said for those who've read Dick's story Second Variety, which I have not. However it should be said, if only on some level of understanding from reading past works of his, it feels like it has a level of faith to the source, albeit changing locations and certain details in the situations, by being approximately cynical to the characters.
The only problem then comes in with it being directed, more or less, as a standard slightly-higher-in-quality made for TV movie. It's by no means a sci-fi channel movie of the week, however Screamers might have fared a little better with its challenging and darkly funny bits without director Christian Duguay, who is professional enough to make it watchable on such a low budget (low for how it looks anyway), but doesn't give certain scenes enough juice to really fly past where it stays at being average. The cast too is a little more of the regular variety, with isn't totally a bad thing; by having character actors, B-level character actors (if that), it helps add to the levels of slight subversion in this story they're in about technology gone to the dogs on a snow planet in 2078. I liked seeing actors cast to type, like Andrew Lauer as the 'kid' who's got enough experience as a soldier but is still pretty naive in other ways; Roy Dupis in a sublimely duplicitous role; Jennifer Rubin as the token tough girl. Even Weller has his right place in the framework, not too cocky a hero but with enough confidence to carry a picture without the Robocop gear. I even enjoyed some of the action set-pieces, with one especially involving a whole field of Davids (the little robot boy).
There's also a slight issue that has to be contended which is too many 'gotcha' addendums to the climax. It's not enough that one character suddenly appears as another cyborg, but that there's another, and then another...and then finally one last wink in the final shot (which actually does work as a creepy last bit), and it's detracting from what is attempting to be a little more substantial. It's only when the hints of things not staying all happy-in-the-end do the director and actors really hit good ground. Screamers has more than its share of moments, and it will continue to be an underrated find by sci-fi fans as the years go by. That it's nowhere near the best of Dick's adaptations- and not the worst- is understandable. 6.5/10
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