Screamers: The Hunting (2009)

Actors: Lance Henriksen, Gina Holden, Greg Bryk, Tim Rozon
Sheldon Wilson
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Subtitles: Cantonese, English, Korean, Spanish
Region: 1 (US and Canada only)
Number of discs:
Sony Pictures
DVD Release Date:
February 17, 2009
Run Time:
95 minutes


Just what the world needed: yet another Aliens rip-off!

Stop us if any of this seems familiar: after a distress signal is intercepted, a squadron of soldiers is sent to rescue any human survivors from a mining planet overrun by vicious, murderous sentient robots that furiously dig through the ground like the worm creatures in Tremors.

Screamers 2 follows the Aliens template closely: thrown into the mix is an arbitrary deadline of six days by which time the entire planet will be destroyed by a meteor shower, much like the defective reactor core in James Cameron's 1986 classic. There is even a greedy human saboteur in the midst of the group who wants to smuggle the verboten robot technology back to Earth to sell to the highest bidder!

If the whole robots "overrunning an entire planet" thing sounds vaguely familiar it is because this is the somewhat belated direct-to-DVD sequel to the 1996 - 12 years ago! - movie Screamers, which starred Peter Weller of Robocop fame. The original movie was based on a short story by Blade Runner / Scanner Darkly author Philip K. Dick written in the 1950s. Dick's story was way ahead of its time, but by the time the movie was finally made in the 1990s it couldn't help but remind audiences of movies such as Terminator, Alien and The Thing (some robots impersonate humans) ? three movies often "referenced" in this sequel as well.

As far as cheapo Alien rip-offs go Screamers 2 perhaps isn't all that bad: the special effects, production designs, costumes, makeup, music, etc. are all well-done and of better quality than most SciFi Channel offerings. But the film's sheer lack of originality remains a huge hurdle. The original movie at least had certain intelligence to it in the way it bemoaned man's destructive urges.

Unfortunately this sequel's "surprise" ending is also so patently ridiculous and nonsensical (it'll have you groaning aloud) that it destroys whatever goodwill the movie may have engendered in viewers beforehand.



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