Screamers Based on a short story by the great nutball sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick, Screamers is more like a high-pitched rip-off of Alien (it was… Screamers Based on a short story by the great nutball sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick, Screamers is more like a high-pitched rip-off of Alien (it was… R PT108M Horror Sci-fi and Fantasy Roy Dupuis Peter Weller
Movie Review

Screamers (1996)

MPAA Rating: R
EW's GRADE
C+

Details Rated: R; Length: 108 Minutes; Genres: Horror, Sci-fi and Fantasy; With: Roy Dupuis and Peter Weller

Based on a short story by the great nutball sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick, Screamers is more like a high-pitched rip-off of Alien (it was cowritten by Alien's Dan O'Bannon). The year is 2078 on the radiation-contaminated planet Sirius 6B. Col. Joe Hendricksson (Peter Weller) and a small band of survivors are trying to make peace between the opposing sides of a war. (In Dick's story, it was the U.S. and the USSR; here, it's Hendricksson's Alliance versus something ominously Gingrichy called the New Economic Bloc.) The conflict has ravaged the planet, leaving it a dusty, rusty dump overrun by Screamers — mechanical creatures of great strength with very sharp teeth, originally designed to protect humans, but who've developed their own intelligence and are now uncontrollable.

Christian Duguay directs a series of long, slow scenes, each culminating in a violent BOO! The Screamers are stiff stop-motion gadgets. Weller — the Skull Who Can Act — gives far more than the movie deserves, imbuing Hendricksson with both a steely sense of humor and despair. And as a glowering black marketeer, Jennifer Rubin, until now an unexploited find in exploitation films, gets the break she deserves as both a kisser and a kung fu kicker. C+

Originally posted Feb 09, 1996 Published in issue #313 Feb 09, 1996 Order article reprints
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