One of the most ironic things I have ever heard, movie wise is that Peter Weller by his own admission is not a fan of science fiction. I find that hilarious as he was the star of Robocop, Buckaroo Banzi, and the short lived series Odyssey 5. He was also the star of a cross between sci fi and horror in 1995’s Screamers. It’s based on the short story Second Variety. Although not a hit when it came out it grew to develop a cult following thanks to video rental and cable showings.
Screamers takes place in 2078 on the planet Sirius 6B. It’s become a wasteland after a war between the mining company that once operated there, and the former miners. The miners, and the scientists they fight alongside with create a weapon they call “Screamers” They are drone like machines that are programmed to hunt down the enemy soldiers and kill them. They let off a high pitch noise when they attack, hence the name screamers. They target enemies based off of their heartbeats. After a while the soldiers develop a device to wear that that makes their heartbeats undetectable to the Screamers.
Weller plays Joe Hendrickson, one of the commanding officers of the miner’s alliance. He is given the chance to help broker a truce and end the war as both sides have been fighting so long they are both becoming depleted. As Joe, one of his men, and a young boy they meet named David travel to the compound for the meeting they are attacked by a new form of Screamer that looks like a human.. It turns out these Screamers have evolved and are now killing everyone in their path.
The film is quite good. It’s a great blend of horror and science fiction. It has tremendous pacing that will keep you on the edge of your seat during the final act of the film. Weller is excellent as always as is Jennifer Rubin as Jessica Hansen. The cast as a whole is good and they all have great chemistry together. The film clocks in at about 110min but it never drags like a lot of science fiction films of this time. It moves along at a quick pace.
Scream Factory has acquired this title and have given it the Blu-ray treatment it so richly deserves. The transfer is fantastic. I saw this film when it came out in 1995 and I can tell you it has never looked better. Every dark scene looks crisp, and the effects, which were done on a low budget look really good as well. The audio is crisp and clear, and as it’s a Scream Factory release it’s got the usual great special features.
Overall 3 out of 5 Stars!