Screamers – USA, 1995 – reviews

‘The last scream you hear will be your own.’

Screamers is a 1995 American science fiction horror feature film directed by Christian Duguay (The Hunger TV series; Scanners II: The New Order; Scanners III: The Takeover) from a screenplay by Dan O’Bannon (Lifeforce; Return of the Living Dead; Alien; et al) and Miguel Tejada-Flores (Frankenstein’s Army; Screamers 2; Fright Night Part 2; et al), loosely based on Philip K. Dick’s short story ‘Second Variety’ (1953).  The movie stars Peter Weller, Roy Dupuis, Jennifer Rubin and Andrew Lauer.

Plot:

Commander Joe Hendricksson (Peter Weller) and new recruit Ace Jefferson (Andy Lauer) set out across the surface of Sirius 6B, where they hope to settle a violent labour dispute at a remote mining outpost.

Having gone too far to turn back, the pair find the desert riddled with deadly Autonomous Mobile Swords, nicknamed “Screamers.” Created to protect the mines, these burrowing weapons have learned to replicate themselves.

To make matters worse, recent generations of Screamers can assume humanoid form…

Screamers is released on Blu-ray on January 29, 2018 by Shout! Factory. Special features:

  • New: Northern Frights – An Interview With Director Christian Duguay
  • New: Orchestrating The Future – An Interview With Producer Tom Berry
  • New: More Screamer Than Human – An Interview With Co-writer Miguel Tejada-Flores
  • New: From Runaway To Space – An Interview With Actress Jennifer Rubin
    Theatrical Trailer

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“The movie just screams (pun intended) ’90s sci-fi.  It is at the fringe of being high tech but fortunately isn’t loaded with tons of bad computer generated graphics.  The stop motion Screamers are kind of fun, but the humanoid Screamers do lend to some fun stuff like the burning and gunning down of Screamer children.” Basement Rejects

“One of the biggest problems with Screamers is the near absence of a likeable character, or at least someone who we actually give a damn about escaping those slice-and-dice robots. … There’s no doubt Screamers could have been a lot better than it is.” Beyond Hollywood

“Big, loud, believable and nasty, the film stands as a testament to why the genre works best when produced by those who know it will play large on a big screen and, for the first hour at least, Screamers makes one remember why one likes science fictions films in the first place.” Horror News

“The journey across the planet’s beautifully decayed industrial wasteland, all shot alternating between industrial locations and snowy Montreal wastes that have been enhanced by matte paintings, is excellent. There is a grippingly eerie sense of the journey building towards some strange revelation – of finding the message from one’s own side to be an illusion, the never-seen things scuttling through the sand…” Moria

“Despite five or so scenes where characters do and say astonishingly stupid things to keep the plot going (i.e., soldier goes on point while listening to futuristic walkman with attached VR goggles), Screamers is a good shot in the arm of big screen Sci Fi cheap thrills of the type I haven’t had in years, with lots of cool special effects and a bitchin’ battery of butt-kicking ‘bots.” Movie Magazine International

This “sci-fi noir” style has led to a crop of films that hopefully heralds a new trend in the industry. If nothing else, Screamers underlines an important truth: you don’t need a big budget or big-name stars to make this sort of motion picture succeed.” Reel Views

“two-thirds excellent and intelligent science-fiction film” that “builds towards a climax that never arrives … After an impressive build-up, the film blows its third act and falls into cliches.” The Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy Film Review

Screamers uses the “sometimes they can see you, and sometimes they can’t” plot point to great advantage. The little buggers also adapt really quickly, eventually even taking on the form of human beings. Then you get to play the “who’s-human, who’s-a-robot” game. If it sounds like you’ve seen this all before, well, you probably have. The difference is that Screamers is actually entertaining.” Stomp Tokyo

” …shows us a great vision of a futuristic dystopia, where big corporations travel the solar system in search of resources and riches. The deceit and betrayal suffered by our protagonist provide a sense of despair and isolation. And the Screamers add threat, uncertainty and fear. All of these elements combine to make this an intriguing film about one man’s fight for survival when all hope seems lost.” Suspend Your Disbelief

“Apparently in the 80’s and 90’s, everyone had this wacked out idea of how important computers would be in the future, so all this dystopian garbage has this aesthetic to it that is just Blade Runner, but sh*tty. That’s pretty much what the first half of this movie is, but when the idea of who/what are these robots, that’s when it gets pretty cool.” The Wolfman Cometh

Choice dialogue:

Joe Hendricksson (Peter Weller): “You’re coming up in the world. You know how to kill each other now.”

Cast and characters:

  • Peter Weller … Joe Hendricksson
  • Roy Dupuis … Becker
  • Jennifer Rubin … Jessica Hanson
  • Andrew Lauer … Ace Jefferson (as Andy Lauer)
  • Charles Edwin Powell … Ross (as Charles Powell)
  • Ron White … Chuck Elbarak
  • Michael Caloz … David
  • Liliana Komorowska … Landowska
  • Jason Cavalier … Leone
  • Leni Parker … Cpl. McDonald
  • Sylvain Massé … N.E.B. Soldier
  • Bruce Boa … Secretary Green
  • Tom Berry … Technician
  • Henry Ramer … Screamers Crawl Narration (voice)

Produced by:

  • Franco Battista … producer
  • Josée Bernard … co-executive producer
  • Tom Berry … producer
  • Charles W. Fries … executive producer
  • Antony I. Ginnane … supervising producer
  • Masao Takiyama … co-executive producer
  • Stefan Wodoslawsky … associate producer

Filming locations:

Joliette and Montréal, Québec, Canada

Release:

Screamers premiered at the 1995 Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 1995. It was released in the United States on January 26, 1996, by Columbia Pictures.

Box office:

The film earned approximately $5.7 million in the United States and Canada, on a $20 million budget. It was moderately popular in France, Japan, and the Netherlands. Worldwide box office was approximately $7 million. However, home video residuals must have been good as a sequel was made in 2009.

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2 Comments on “Screamers – USA, 1995 – reviews”

  1. My reaction to the film-“Okay, here’s the end. Oh, no, guess this is end. Is this the end? Ah, this must be the ending. Nope. Is this film going to have an ending? Ah here we go. Ah God, set up for a sequel.”

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