Screamers is a science fiction thriller that actually manages to produce a couple of
surprising plot twists (amid many all-too predictable ones). The story is set nearly one
hundred years in the future, on the desolate planet Sirius 6B. A long lasting war is raging
between the N.E.B. and the Alliance. Peter Weller stars as the gruff Alliance commander
on Sirius. The N.E.B. was winning the war by using nuclear weapons, however the
Alliance retaliated with a weapon affectionately called a "Screamer". Screamers are
self programming robots that are somewhat of a cross between a homing land mine, and
a buzz saw. They are self sustaining, replicate in some sort of underground factory, and
are even able to update and improve their design and programming. When a messager from
the N.E.B. bearing an entreaty for peace stumbles within sight of the Alliance compound,
before being torn limb from limb by several screamers, the commander decides to journey
to the N.E.B. and negotiate peace. However, the Alliance has been isolated in their
compound for the past two years, and his journey shows him that the screamers have
proven more successful than anyone could have hoped or feared. Screamers packs more
punch when it tackles the science fiction side of its story rather than the action/horror aspect.
More horrifying than simple mechanized buzzsaws are the Pandora's Box effects of powerful
technology, and the eerie sensation caused by not knowing who your friends and enemies
truly are. The special effects run the gamut from cheesy to pretty good. The acting is
servicable, with Weller's gruff commander providing most of the prestige. Still, the movie
ends with a weak gimmick, and leaves you with the feeling that it could have done better had
it had more trust in itself and its own concepts.
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