Inspired by a short story by visionary author Philip K. Dick, SCREAMERS: THE HUNTING is a mind-shattering sequel to the legendary sci-fi cult thriller! It's been thirteen years since the robotic killing machines known as Screamers destroyed the human population of Sirius 6B. But now a distress signal brings a team of rescuers to the supposedly abandoned planet. Can it be a long-lost colony of human survivors? Or have the Screamers evolved into something even more sinister...half-man/half-machine hybrids that need to escape Sirius 6B to finish their mission: the complete annihilation of the human race?
"Now now, there's no need for violence." These words are spoken far too late in Screamers: The Hunting
to make a difference. This sci-fi flick wastes no time in building up a high body count, thanks to an energetic approach to gore and a few creative ways of splitting bodies in two. A sequel to the 1996 Screamers
, which itself was based on a Philip K. Dick story, Screamers: The Hunting
proves that almost any minor action picture can merit a direct-to-DVD sequel. A dozen years have passed since the events of the first film, and a space mission is dispatched to planet Sirius 6B, supposedly to pick up any surviving humans before the entire planet is torched. Unfortunately, the planet's killer robots, thought to be wiped out, have demonstrated a pesky survival sense, and a disconcerting talent for repairing and reconfiguring themselves. This does not bode well for the visiting astronauts--call it Saving Private Ryan
. The cast includes Gina Holden (in the Ripley role), sultry foreign offering Jana Pallaske, and the venerable genre mainstay Lance Henriksen, who instantly raises the movie's cred by a hundred percent. While director Sheldon Wilson proves himself a mean propagator of gnarly action sequences, his ability to recognize bad dialogue, or to instruct actors in the proper way to deliver said dialogue, is nil. But dialogue is probably not the point here--unless you're talking about someone standing in the desert, firing a gun at a homicidal robot burrowing through the sand, and shouting, "Screamer!" Which happens a lot. --Robert Horton