Peter Weller, Roy Dupuis, Jennifer Rubin, Andy Lauer, Charles Powell,
Ron White, Michael Caloz
1996, 107 Minutes, Directed by: Christian Duguay
I first read Second Variety, a Philip K Dick short story
he wrote way back in 1952 I thought that it would make a very
good movie. There's a lot of excitement and tension in the story
that can be presented visually and then there's also that typical Dickian obsession with what is human and what is real and what
Obviously I wasn't the only one who thought so: Dan
O'Bannon (who scripted Alien) also
thought so and wrote a screenplay based on the short story.
Unfortunately we must have been the only people who thought so
because the screenplay spent 15 years in "development
hell" and only recently got made by an unknown Canadian
outfit as Screamers. So don't be on the lookout for any
familiar faces: the only one you might recognize is Peter Weller
who played Robocop and
starred in Naked
Lunch . . .
Is it a good film?
Well, the short story is always better but there's a lot going for this
film: it remains reasonably faithful to the original short story, the
production values are okay and some of the dialogue is pretty effective.
On the surface it's little else except a group of people running around
and vicious creatures attacking them (much like Alien), but there's some
typical Dickian ambiguity about who is human much like in
Blade Runner to make this a cut above
To be honest, I thought that this film was better
than Independence Day, that other sci-fi flick
I recently saw. Whereas Independence Day is a gleeful repetition
of tired clichés, there's a certain intelligence to Screamers.
What makes this sad is that while Independence Day and its brainlessness
is raking in the crowds at cinemas, Screamers went straight to
the video shelves here in South Africa . . .
Quick - what other
Philip K. Dick stories were made into movies besides this and Blade
Impostor, Minority Report
Sci-Fi Movie Page Pick:
Effective at times. Based on a Philip K. Dick short story called "Second Variety",
Screamers may play
like a downbeat version of Aliens, but it has its moments.