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62 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good
Quick -- name a motion picture based on a short story by Philip K. Dick and starring a tough guy who played a killer cyborg in a previous hit movie.

If you guessed _Total Recall_, you're correct, but it's not the one I had in mind.

This one is nothing like _Total Recall_ (which was an excellent movie but wandered far -- or did it? think twice -- from...
Published on December 28, 2003 by John S. Ryan

versus
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Close to Phil Dicks vision, but not quite
I have collected books written by Philip K. Dick for as long as I can remember, including over 100 of his short stories in the original publication edtion going back to 1952. I've got all movies related to him, inluding Barjo, which is really pretty good, as an aside. Even the Valis opera on CD which is kind of strange.

Anyway, this movie, as said elsewhere,...
Published on February 3, 2007 by J. Young


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62 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, December 28, 2003
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This review is from: Screamers (DVD)
Quick -- name a motion picture based on a short story by Philip K. Dick and starring a tough guy who played a killer cyborg in a previous hit movie.

If you guessed _Total Recall_, you're correct, but it's not the one I had in mind.

This one is nothing like _Total Recall_ (which was an excellent movie but wandered far -- or did it? think twice -- from Dick's 'We Can Remember It For You Wholesale'). The story here is straightforward and doesn't involve any questioning of the nature of reality -- though it does, at least obliquely, question the nature of the relationship between humans and machines.

Peter Weller (_Robocop_) is the big cahuna here, and he does an excellent job as the morose, taciturn, tough-as-nails, just barely likeable 'hero' of the piece. The situation: there's some sort of corporate war on, and there's a mining colony, and there's some disinformation, and there's a possibility none of the fine folks that work the mines will ever get home again. (The film is based loosely on Dick's 'Second Variety' but doesn't follow it in detail; for one thing, the story was set on Earth.)

And there are the Screamers.

I can't tell you much about them without spoiling the movie for you. I guess I can let you know that they are machines and that they are evolving. Beyond that . . . well, watch and see.

This is a gritty, taut movie, and it's mostly well executed. The cast do a fine job -- especially Roy Dupuis but also that kid who used to rollerblade around on _Caroline In The City_. Some of the tension is artificial but the plot keeps on developing to the very last moment of the film.

It's not great, but it's good. And in its way it's a faithful adaptation of the spirit of Dick's story, despite its major liberties with the details. That spirit has to do with the evolution of machines to the point that they're willing and able to kill one another, just like _real_ humans do. In that respect, the film is dark, pessimistic, and 'Dickian', and it bears up well under repeated viewings.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nifty adaptation from the master of science fiction paranoia, Phillip K. Dick., July 18, 2006
This review is from: Screamers (DVD)
Screamers - Wow. If slightly derivative, this is a beauty; an overlooked gem of the just-above 'B' level sci-fi/horror genre.

Peter Weller (in the twilight of his 'A' list career) stars as Col. Hendricksson, a disenfranchised career soldier for the Alliance, stuck on a decimated mining planet ravaged by a decade of never-ending warfare, who sets out into no-man's land to negotiate peace with the enemy forces of the New Economic Bloc. Think a futuristic version of the Hatfield's vs. the McCoys, with radiation poisoning and advanced weaponry, as manipulated by an unseen, off-world government, and you've got the general idea.

Eventually Col. Hendricksson realizes that he's been scammed and stranded, stuck fighting a hopeless battle void of any importance, and he and his rag-tag band of Alliance survivors are the last handful of humanity left on the planet. As the shock sinks in, Hendricksson and his small group suddenly become the hunted, chillingly, by weapons that they helped to create -- the burrowing, semi-intelligent, buzz-saw like creatures of the title.

To say too much here would give away the surprise waaay too soon - although if you've seen more than a couple movies, you'll catch the Big Twist well before you're supposed to. Let it be said though, that Screamers is one of those surprises, one that's earned a place in this jaded video hound's heart.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Film, August 15, 2006
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Jackson Arthur (Chandler, AZ United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Screamers (DVD)
Several reviewers have been a bit brutal to this film, and I suppose they have a right to be. They are entitled to their opinions. As for me, I thoroughly enjoyed the film. Unapologetically, no excuses, no reservations. 5 stars.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars spacespam, July 3, 2006
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This review is from: Screamers (DVD)
I am a science fiction lover and i had to make this movie a part of my collection.,the only set back is the end of the movie wich could have been a little more creative.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Fun, May 11, 2006
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This review is from: Screamers (DVD)
'Screamers' is a very entertaining movie, albeit definitely of the B-Movie variety, as so many other reviewers have pointed out. This film reputedly had a budget of 11 million, and it seems like it should be a lot less than that, but no matter what it's got a real low-budget feel to it with a kind of a basic cable sci-fi show look to it. This is, of course, based on the classic Phil Dick short story 'Second Variety' and is also the only Dick adaptation that I am aware of that follows the story with any faithfulness at all, though the upcoming 'A Scanner Darkly' looks like it might change this trend. (Other adaptations being 'Blade Runner', 'Minority Report', 'Total Recall', 'Paycheck', 'Impostor' etc.) Of course, even as the most faithful adaptation they still make a lot of changes, but much of the general plot and major details remain the same anyway, which is nice. Anyway, this is the kinda movie that requires a very specific taste as it walks the line between effective drama and campiness, making it a movie that's kinda silly and wacky but one which I still take more or less seriously, as a whole. Anyway, I likes it.

'Screamers' centers around a long-standing conflict between the the Alliance and the New Economic Block on some distant planet. (Sirius 6B, or something like that.) As the film opens a lone NEB troop walks into the Alliance base carrying a message. He's torn apart by the murderous, subterranean robots called Autonomous Mobile Swords or Screamers, but they still receive the message: The NEBs want to negotiate peace. Shortly thereafter Alliance commander Hendricks learns a dark truth about the war: The war on this planet is essentially over and has been for years, but it's important for the Alliance to keep the troops there and away from Earth for political reasons, so they've been kept in the dark. Needless to say, Hendricks isn't terribly pleased with the situation, and he heads off to negotiate with the NEBs and get the hell off of the planet. The situation proves a lot more complicated than this, however, as upon leaving the base Hendricks soon discovers that the Alliance-built Screamers are now truly autonomous, building new designs, imitating human forms and killing everyone they can get at, Alliance or NEB.

I think this is a pretty damn good Sci-Fi Action/Horror plot. Not terribly new now, though it was probably a lot more fresh in 1952, but it's definitely still workable. The screamers themselves are just neat, kinda underground variants of the Phantasm orbs, and the whole, who is human, who isn't aspect of the film that comes into play later is fun, if, again, not terribly fresh anymore. We've got an entertaining pack of characters here, led by Robocop himself, Peter Weller, as Hendricks. I like Weller a lot, and he's in good form here, making a fine tough-guy action hero. I also particularly like Roy Dupuis as the nutty, sarcastic, Shakespeare-quoting Becker. He's pretty damn over the top, but I think he's entertaining enough. All the performances are entertaining, if in a kind of affected, B-movie way. Furthermore, the script, from famed Sci-Fi/Horror Screenwriter Dan O'Bannon, (Alien, Dark Stay, Total Recall, Dead & Buried etc.) is actually a fair bit sharper and more clever than you'd usually see in this kinda movie. This is, perhaps, no great compliment, but it's something, anyway.

I think the film also creates some effective atmosphere, with burnt out cities and snowy, endless sand dunes, screamer tunnels appearing randomly here and there. The movie also manages to bring out a claustrophobic, paranoiac tone later on as the trust between the characters fades and they wander through the cramped, run down tunnels. Furthermore some of the ideas in the story are just too chilling to be much diminished by this sometimes over the top film. Spoilers Ahead: The murderous little kid screamers are surprisingly creepy, particularly their perennial call, 'Can I come with you?. I also like the endless, circular conversation between Hendricks and the his now dead home base. Finally, I just like how the Screamers more more less eat people. (And rats. Whatever they can find, apparently.) There's just something really bizarre and creepy about robots eating flesh.

The film does falter a bit at the end, with a fairly silly last fight scene, but it's still entertaining in its way, and it doesn't diminish the impact of the film too much as a whole. And the final stinger, while pretty stupid, is also quite amusing, I think.

Grade: B
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL ADAPTATION OF DICK'S SHORT STORY 'SECOND VARIETY' GETS THE MORBID & PARANOID ATMOSPHERE DOWN COLD, October 25, 2006
This review is from: Screamers [VHS] (VHS Tape)
FIRST OFF: ALL SCI-FI GETS THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT FROM ME

I must admit that this type of film, gritty futuristic sci-fi set on another planet, would have to be horrid for me to not like it. Nevertheless, I do believe that, objectively speaking, 'Screamers', based on the short story 'Second Variety' by Philip K. Dick, is an excellent and worthwhile film.

***---> $20 MILLION FOR A B-FILM?

It seems rather amazing that by 1995, a 20-million dollar budget would only produce a 'B film' which the critics have referred to as "budget challenged"! I do agree that more effort should have been made to create the setting for this film, but would that really have made it more effective? 'Screamers' still manages to create a rather chilling atmosphere where it feels like something horrible is about to happen, but we don't quite know what. The world of 'Screamers' seems real enough and the bleakness seems totally appropriate to the subject. Nevertheless, there is something in 'Screamers' that seems like it was filmed with the least amount of scenery, and whatever was on hand was adapted to fit the story. Maybe this is true and maybe not. In any event, the film still works and does not feel like it is suffering from a lack of anything, specifically, that a bigger budget would have bought.

***---> IN A NUTSHELL [there may be plot spoilers below]

Here we have a planet that was exploited for a new form of energy which fizzled out as it generated an immense, toxic, radioactive waste as a by-product of its production. Two factions collided over the issue and it is now 20 years later. The year is 2078 and there is little left of the planet Sirius 6B, once a real garden spot, we are told. A lone soldier comes to the alliance bunker where Marshall Joseph Hendricksson [Peter Weller] is commanding, with a message which seems to offer a peaceful solution to the war that has ravaged the planet. From here the story goes on the road, a kind of trek that we have seen in the 'Wizard of Oz'. Marshall Hendricksson departs from the bunker with one new arrival in search of his N.E.B.s counterpart to sort out the meaning of the peace offering.

--- ON THE WAY --- EXPOSITION AS WE HIKE TOWARD THE NEB's BUNKER

Everything you will ever want to know about the situation on Sirius 6B and more is delivered via a thinly-disguised expository lump. This comes in the form of Hendricksson telling the new arrival, 'Ace' [Andrew Lauer], who he has taken with him on the trek, everything WE need to know in order to better understand this rather meandering tale. On the way to meet with his NEBs counterpart, the Marshall and Ace find a little boy who appears to be orphaned, several NEBs stragglers, and an attractive black marketeer [Jennifer Rubin]. All of these people have a distinct and vital role in the story, and little is as it seems.

--- AND OF COURSE THERE ARE SCREAMERS!!!!!

These screamers are the real deal here and we never really know what is happening with them and what motivates them because the Alliance that created them, represented here by Marshall Hendricksson, doesn't know either. We do know that they are evolving and upgrading themselves in many rather scary ways and that nobody is safe as long as they are in the same universe as human beings.

And there lies the heart of the story -- the Screamers. Just what is their significance to the human race????? After you see the film you will know!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Movie; Bad Aspect Ratio, September 20, 2008
By 
Robert E. Rodden II (Peoria, IL. United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Screamers (DVD)
I really enjoyed this movie. It's not an epic, as it states on the cover, but it's entertaining, and at times genuinely suspensful. I felt like they made something pretty good with a low budget. Special effects were well done. The creature effects were pretty decent. And I'm still a fan of Weller. It's also nice to see Dan Obannon's name on a screenplay again.

I'm only disappointed I didn't notice the DVD was a 4x3 aspect ratio before I bought it. So I guess down the road I'll end up buying it a second time in widescreen.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Escape From The Planet of the Screamers, April 23, 2008
By 
This review is from: Screamers (DVD)
Not since "Planet of the Apes" have I seen a man so desperate to escape from a planet. "Screamers" is a futuristic film of science fiction horror starring Peter Weller; he has acted in a host of science fiction films such as "Robocop" and "Leviathan." In "Screamers," Peter Weller is Colonel Hendricksen who lives on a remote mining planet, Sirius 6B. He has learned that the tiny, multi-bladed robots (similar to the silver balls in "Phantasm"), living underground have begun replicating themselves and evolving to the point that they are indistinguishable from humans. Reminiscent of John Carpenter`s "The Thing," no one knows who is the human and who is the imitation. The screamers need human body parts to create more screamers.

Hendricksen attempts to lead a small band of survivors through bomb-riddled wasteland towards safety. Along the way, they encounter numerous obstacles from the screamers. One of the survivors, and Hendricksen's love interest, is Jessica Hansen (Jennifer Rubin of "Nightmare on Elm Street: Dream Warriors"). She is a tough as nails, freelance mercenary.

"Screamers" is a beautifully filmed blend of science fiction, horror, and romance. The acting is good and the special effects are excellent. The creatures appear real rather than cartoon-like. There is gore but not too much.

Suspenseful and action packed, "Screamers" has numerous plot twists that will shock you, especially the one that comes at the end. Just when you think that Hendricksen's situation couldn't get any worse, it does.

"Screamers" is a must see for fans of science fiction horror. I would've given it five stars but the DVD presentation is in full screen rather than the widescreen that is so deserves. I wish Sony Pictures had given both versions on the same disc.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is one of the greatest movies of all time!, August 27, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Screamers [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Atmosphere is the first word to come to mind. Some of the most interesting sets ever imagined can be seen in this film from a long abandoned mining colony that is falling apart to an underground labyrinth of catwalks and dark passages this movie treats your sensations. The characters complement one another perfectly and their diversity is refreshing. The special effects are few and far between but when they appear the're show stoppers. The smaller mettalic screamers are perfect examples of the wonderful CG. The plot twists and turns while maintaining a steady course to it's surprising ending which will make you think for quite awhile. Overall, this is one of the best movies I have ever seen and would highly recommend it to anyone, especially someone who likes Sci-Fi.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!!!, March 13, 2007
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This review is from: Screamers (DVD)
I loved this movie for it's sci-fi purity and simplicity. There's military, space, AI, mystery, suspense, nukes, drama, sexual tension, love... I'm planning to read more of the works from the writer that wrote the story the movie is based on. This is a classic sci-fi movie. Add it to your collection and get ready to watch it every 2 or 3 months.
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Screamers
Screamers by Christian Duguay (DVD - 1998)
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