SCREAMERS: THE HUNTING
Reviewed by: Ryan Doom
and Lance Henriksen
What's it about
On a distant planet, a group of soldiers are sent to rescue survivors once considered dead. What they donít know? Screamers wait for them on the surface.
Is it good movie?
I have a small confession. Iíve never seen 1995ís Screamers. I recall the name of the movie. The ads. The fact it was based on the short story ďSecond VarietyĒ by Philip K. Dick. However, I seem to have confused it with Scanners and Phantoms because I thought Ben Affleck starred in it and peopleís heads exploded. Hmm. Maybe my memory isnít what it once was. Regardless, by the time realized I had no idea what Screamers was about, I was already a quarter through its sequel: Screamers: The Hunting, which is a member of the endless barrage of direct to DVD sequels to films that no one expected sequels to. Without knowledge of a back-story for a second edition, it seemed like an interesting premise with little, metal, alien-like machines tunneling through the ground, locating humans, and ripping apart dudes. Sounds like a good time.
In the film, a group of commando type-people land on a non-descript mining planet and lead a very basic rescue mission. You know the drill: commandos die one-by-one; mistrust develops among rescuer and rescuee; someone screws up the mission; they only have X amount of time to leave before the crap hits the fan; blood flows. Screamers: The Hunting is a generic mix of Aliens and Phantasm, making my confusion of the films that much more, well, confusing. Actually, another film comparison comes from Tremors as the screamers burrow through the ground like little demented tunnel rats. I think Tremors came out first, but hell, I donít know. Iím a little too confused now.
Anyway, Screamers: The Hunting is a cheap movie that looks cheap. Sets appear constructed of duct tape and black tubing. The CGI makes me wish they had just used puppets instead. The dialogue is so clichťd that I found myself finishing charactersí lines for them. Now it sounds like Iím completely trashing the film, but in reality, this is one of those movies that if you know its garbage, youíll enjoy yourself as it delivers the goods one expects with the gore, the action, and the tension. I knew what lurked around the corner, but the tension still made me want to peak around it myself. The action plays very generic, like poor-destitute-manís Mad Max, but it still held my attention with knives, machine guns, and bow-and-arrows. The gore is top notch; it caught me off guard a few times as bodies get carved at every turn. In addition, some hybrid screamers appear, and their make-up (looking like a mechanical Predator) is perhaps the best element of the film. If, that is, you don't count the women. Oh, and not to sound sexists, but the girls are pretty damn hot too. Thatís always a nice bonus feature.
Video / Audio
Video: A clean and crisp 1:78 Widescreen presentation.
Audio: Presented with the power of 5.1 Dolby Surround.
Behind the Scenes: A run-of-the-mill look at the filmís production. It runs 24-minutes and serves as the usual overview of cast, story, and development instead of focusing on anything specific. Eh.
For the most part, anyone in search of mindless action and gore will get a kick out of Screamers: The Hunting as a step above the normal DVD fare. Beyond the dialogue (which is awful) and the reasoning of the characters (which doesnít make sense) itís an entertaining mixture of gore, sci-fi, and military charactersĖeven if they resemble extras from Galaxy Quest.