In the future, when economic interests wage war with labor and environmental factions on a mining planet, a sophisticated weapon, called screamers, begin to take on human form and kill all human life. — Genre: Science Ficti... more »on
"Quick -- name a motion picture based on a short story by Philip K. Dick and starring a tough guy who played a killer cyborg in a previous hit movie.If you guessed _Total Recall_, you're correct, but it's not the one I had in mind.This one is nothing like _Total Recall_ (which was an excellent movie but wandered far -- or did it? think twice -- from Dick's 'We Can Remember It For You Wholesale'). The story here is straightforward and doesn't involve any questioning of the nature of reality -- though it does, at least obliquely, question the nature of the relationship between humans and machines.Peter Weller (_Robocop_) is the big cahuna here, and he does an excellent job as the morose, taciturn, tough-as-nails, just barely likeable 'hero' of the piece. The situation: there's some sort of corporate war on, and there's a mining colony, and there's some disinformation, and there's a possibility none of the fine folks that work the mines will ever get home again. (The film is based loosely on Dick's 'Second Variety' but doesn't follow it in detail at all; for one thing, the story was set on Earth.)And there are the Screamers.I can't tell you much about them without spoiling the movie for you. I guess I can let you know that they are machines and that they are evolving. Beyond that . . . well, watch and see.This is a gritty, taut movie, and it's mostly well executed. The cast do a fine job -- especially Roy Dupuis but also that kid who used to rollerblade around on _Caroline In The City_. Some of the tension is artificial but the plot keeps on developing to the very last moment of the film.It's not great, but it's good. And in its way it's a faithful adaptation of the spirit of Dick's story, despite its major liberties with the details. That spirit has to do with the evolution of machines to the point that they're willing and able to kill one another, just like _real_ humans do. In that respect, the film is dark, pessimistic, and 'Dickian', and it bears up well under repeated viewings."
W. Sheridan | Chandler, AZ United States | 08/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Several reviewers have been a bit brutal to this film, and I suppose they have a right to be. They are entitled to their opinions. As for me, I thoroughly enjoyed the film. Unapologetically, no excuses, no reservations. 5 stars."
A nifty adaptation from the master of science fiction parano
Kevin Rienecker | Portland, OR USA | 07/19/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Screamers - Wow. If slightly derivative, this is a beauty; an overlooked gem of the just-above 'B' level sci-fi/horror genre.
Peter Weller (in the twilight of his 'A' list career) stars as Col. Hendricksson, a disenfranchised career soldier for the Alliance, stuck on a decimated mining planet ravaged by a decade of never-ending warfare, who sets out into no-man's land to negotiate peace with the enemy forces of the New Economic Bloc. Think a futuristic version of the Hatfield's vs. the McCoys, with radiation poisoning and advanced weaponry, as manipulated by an unseen, off-world government, and you've got the general idea.
Eventually Col. Hendricksson realizes that he's been scammed and stranded, stuck fighting a hopeless battle void of any importance, and he and his rag-tag band of Alliance survivors are the last handful of humanity left on the planet. As the shock sinks in, Hendricksson and his small group suddenly become the hunted, chillingly, by weapons that they helped to create -- the burrowing, semi-intelligent, buzz-saw like creatures of the title.
To say too much here would give away the surprise waaay too soon - although if you've seen more than a couple movies, you'll catch the Big Twist well before you're supposed to. Let it be said though, that Screamers is one of those surprises, one that's earned a place in this jaded video hound's heart."
Leonardo Jones | Panama | 07/03/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I am a science fiction lover and i had to make this movie a part of my collection.,the only set back is the end of the movie wich could have been a little more creative."
General Zombie | the West | 05/11/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"'Screamers' is a very entertaining movie, albeit definitely of the B-Movie variety, as so many other reviewers have pointed out. This film reputedly had a budget of 11 million, and it seems like it should be a lot less than that, but no matter what it's got a real low-budget feel to it with a kind of a basic cable sci-fi show look to it. This is, of course, based on the classic Phil Dick short story 'Second Variety' and is also the only Dick adaptation that I am aware of that follows the story with any faithfulness at all, though the upcoming 'A Scanner Darkly' looks like it might change this trend. (Other adaptations being 'Blade Runner', 'Minority Report', 'Total Recall', 'Paycheck', 'Impostor' etc.) Of course, even as the most faithful adaptation they still make a lot of changes, but much of the general plot and major details remain the same anyway, which is nice. Anyway, this is the kinda movie that requires a very specific taste as it walks the line between effective drama and campiness, making it a movie that's kinda silly and wacky but one which I still take more or less seriously, as a whole. Anyway, I likes it.
'Screamers' centers around a long-standing conflict between the the Alliance and the New Economic Block on some distant planet. (Sirius 6B, or something like that.) As the film opens a lone NEB troop walks into the Alliance base carrying a message. He's torn apart by the murderous, subterranean robots called Autonomous Mobile Swords or Screamers, but they still receive the message: The NEBs want to negotiate peace. Shortly thereafter Alliance commander Hendricks learns a dark truth about the war: The war on this planet is essentially over and has been for years, but it's important for the Alliance to keep the troops there and away from Earth for political reasons, so they've been kept in the dark. Needless to say, Hendricks isn't terribly pleased with the situation, and he heads off to negotiate with the NEBs and get the hell off of the planet. The situation proves a lot more complicated than this, however, as upon leaving the base Hendricks soon discovers that the Alliance-built Screamers are now truly autonomous, building new designs, imitating human forms and killing everyone they can get at, Alliance or NEB.
I think this is a pretty damn good Sci-Fi Action/Horror plot. Not terribly new now, though it was probably a lot more fresh in 1952, but it's definitely still workable. The screamers themselves are just neat, kinda underground variants of the Phantasm orbs, and the whole, who is human, who isn't aspect of the film that comes into play later is fun, if, again, not terribly fresh anymore. We've got an entertaining pack of characters here, led by Robocop himself, Peter Weller, as Hendricks. I like Weller a lot, and he's in good form here, making a fine tough-guy action hero. I also particularly like Roy Dupuis as the nutty, sarcastic, Shakespeare-quoting Becker. He's pretty damn over the top, but I think he's entertaining enough. All the performances are entertaining, if in a kind of affected, B-movie way. Furthermore, the script, from famed Sci-Fi/Horror Screenwriter Dan O'Bannon, (Alien, Dark Stay, Total Recall, Dead & Buried etc.) is actually a fair bit sharper and more clever than you'd usually see in this kinda movie. This is, perhaps, no great compliment, but it's something, anyway.
I think the film also creates some effective atmosphere, with burnt out cities and snowy, endless sand dunes, screamer tunnels appearing randomly here and there. The movie also manages to bring out a claustrophobic, paranoiac tone later on as the trust between the characters fades and they wander through the cramped, run down tunnels. Furthermore some of the ideas in the story are just too chilling to be much diminished by this sometimes over the top film. Spoilers Ahead: The murderous little kid screamers are surprisingly creepy, particularly their perennial call, 'Can I come with you?. I also like the endless, circular conversation between Hendricks and the his now dead home base. Finally, I just like how the Screamers more more less eat people. (And rats. Whatever they can find, apparently.) There's just something really bizarre and creepy about robots eating flesh.
The film does falter a bit at the end, with a fairly silly last fight scene, but it's still entertaining in its way, and it doesn't diminish the impact of the film too much as a whole. And the final stinger, while pretty stupid, is also quite amusing, I think.