Blu-ray Review: Screamers

Ever get confused when someone tells you the plot to one movie, but you think they’re describing a different film? This is what happened when I thought a friend was telling me about Pitch Black. Instead they shared a quick rundown on Screamers which they had recently rented on VHS. Which made things weird because I sat in the theater watching Pitch Black and kept waiting for the killer critters to be exposed as robots. When do I get the twist? The answer came a few days later when I asked my pal, why did he think they were robot creatures. And that’s when I discovered I needed to go see Screamers. Now Screamers is coming out on Blu-ray so you can see the real killer robot creatures in high definition.

There’s a war on planet Sirius 6B. Alliance commanding officer Joe Hendricksson (Robocop‘s Peter Weller) is getting worn out since basically it’s a battle over a toxic nightmare of a mining colony. The other side is New Economic Bloc (NEB). To make matters worse is the fact that the Alliance created these robot creatures called Screamers. They zip around under the ground waiting to attack. When they detect a heartbeat, they fire up a circular saw blade that makes them scream. They can easily slice and dice up people. The soldiers have ways around them except the Screamers are in charge of making their next generations without humans meddling. Hendricksson hears that their a desire for a truce and is promised safe passage to NEB’s bunker to negotiate. Trouble is that he has to avoid the Screamers that aren’t part of the truce. During the journey, Hendricksson discovers the Screamers have mutated into human form. Now he has to be paranoid about everything. He has to worry if his opposite number with the NEB Jessica Hansen (Bad Dreams‘s Jennifer Rubin) wants peace between them so the Screamers can go beyond Sirius 6B.

Screamers really has aged well as far as desolate science fiction stories can go. Right now we’re sitting back fearful of what machine learning is going to do to society as computers take over robotic cars on our highways. So why not watch a film about what happens if you let killing machines control their own evolution. Weller is excellent as always as the frustrated and worn out guy who just wants a bit of piece in an uptight world. He orders a body to be shot if it just farts with authority. He seems game for crawling all over the concrete and metal structures that make up the world. Jennifer Rubin really does a good job keeping us guessing as to what’s inside her. The Screamers are really creepy when they trigger their circular saws and leap from the sand like automated Masters of the Flying Guillotine. I don’t confuse Screamers anymore although everyone in Screamers is confused as to what the critters are capable of doing to fool them.

The video is 1.85:1. The transfer brings out the cold and unforgiving nature of the planet. The audio is Stereo DTS-HD Master Audio. The mixed it so you can hear the music and the whipping of the wind on the wasteland landscape. The movie is subtitled.

Northern Frights (21:11) has an interview with Director Christian Duguay. He talks about shooting in the freezing cold nights at a cement plant outside Montreal. He talks about what he did to make the indie production happen.

Orchestrating The Future (23:56) is an interview with Producer Tom Berry. He jokes about his career decline from screenwriter to entertainment executive. It took a couple years for him to get the rights to the project.

More Screamer Than Human (11:03) sits down at a table with co-writer Miguel Tejada-Flores. He talks about how he wrote Revenge of the Nerds and eventually got around to writing science fiction after doing Fright Night 2. He worked with Dan O’Bannon’s script. The two didn’t collaborate since Dan had written his version a decade before. His job was to lighten things up and make it less of a cold war storyline.

From Runaway To Space (18:58) is an interview with actress Jennifer Rubin has her recount her career that had her going from modeling like her mother to acting. She has high praise for Peter Weller. He took her to see the Rolling Stones.

Theatrical Trailer (1:56) sells us the Phillip K. Dick connection. They promise a robot protector that’s become a monster and can now fake being human.

Scream Factory presents Screamers. Directed by Christian Duguay. Screenplay by: Dan O’Bannon & Miguel Tejada-Flores. Starring: Peter Weller, Roy Dupuis, Jennifer Rubin & Andrew Lauer. Rated: R. Running Time: 108 minutes. Released: January 29, 2019.

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