Blu-ray Review: SCREAMERS

SCREAMERS is based on the short story “Second Variety” by Phillip K. Dick. The movie was directed by Christian Duguayfrom a screenplay by Dan O’Bannon and Miguel Tejada-Flores and stars Peter Weller, Jennifer Rubin, Roy Dupuis, Andrew Lauer, Ron White and Michael Caloz.

The year is 2078. The man is rebel Alliance Commander Col. Joseph Hendrickson (Peter Weller), assigned to protect the Sirius 6B outpost from ravage and plunder at the hands of the New Economic Bloc. His state-of-the-art weaponry are known as Screamers; manmade killing devices programmed to eliminate all enemy life forms. Screamers travel underground; their intent to kill announced by piercing shrieks. They dissect their victims with precision, then eradicate all traces of the carnage. They are lethal. Effective. Tidy. And somehow, they are mutating … self-replicating into human form … and slaughtering every beating heart on the planet.

This 1995 sci-fi thriller takes place after a mining war between the New Economic Bloc and the Alliance on a distant planet in the outer reaches of space. The Alliance created these Autonomous Mobile Swords (AMS), artificially intelligent self-replicating machines (aka Screamers) that have been created to track down and kill anyone from the NEB. The Screamers pick up on the enemy’s heartbeats and set off a high-pitched noise when they attack their prey. What happens is, the two sides call an uneasy truce as the Screamers pick them off one by one. The Alliance members were tagged and supposed to be safe from the Screamers but they find out that something has changed and they’re also being targeted.

What the humans discover is that these hunter-killers are replicating and taking on different shapes and forms which allows them to infiltrate and strike when the humans least expect it. The Screamers can take on a humanoid form or even a teddy bear and this is how they’re slowly getting in and killing off of last of the humans on the planet. Joe ends up meeting Jessica Hansen (Jennifer Rubin) and they come up with a plan to try and escape the planet but standing in the way is Becker (Roy Dupuis), one of the mysterious enemy survivors who knows a little more about the evolving Screamers that he should. Joe and Jessica ultimately make their way to their destination but what Joe doesn’t know is that he’ll have to go through one more shocking surprise before he gets a chance to escape this nightmare.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some alternate artwork so you have your pick of which side you’d like to use as the front cover. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Screamers is one of those movies that didn’t do so well at the box office but it’s garnered a cult following over the years and deservingly so because it’s a pretty cool watch. There were some impressive names from the science fiction genre like Phillip K. Dick, who wrote the short story, and Dan O’ Bannon, who co-wrote the screenplay, so you think you’d have the next Star Wars, Aliens or even Tremors, but the B-movie just never fully delivered. Don’t get me wrong because it’s not a bad watch at all but it is a movie that feels like something was missing or maybe it could have been executed just a little better. Maybe? What is cool about the movie is the cast assembled for it that’s led by Peter Weller and Jennifer Rubin. There’s also a lot of action that definitely keeps the fast-paced flow of things moving right along. Screamers features some special effects that includes everything from impressive matt backgrounds to mediocre CGI and a few practicals thrown in here and there. The cult following has continued to grow over the years so in 2009 it got a direct-to-video sequel called Screamers: The Hunting that was also a pretty decent watch. Screamers makes its Blu-ray debut on January 29th.

Distributor: Scream Factory

Run Time: 108 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features: The extras include four new interviews with some of the cast and crew and the theatrical trailer.

  • NEW Northern Frights – an interview with director Christian Duguay (21:11)
  • NEW Orchestrating the Future – an interview with producer Tom Berry (23:56)
  •  NEW More Screamer Than Human – an interview with co-writer Miguel Tejada-Flores (11:03)
  • NEW From Runaway to Space – an interview with actress Jennifer Rubin (18:58)
  • Theatrical Trailer (01:56)
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