Friday, 13 January 2012

Review - Screamers: The Hunting (2009 - Dir. Sheldon Wilson)

In the original Screamers review, I posed the question,'How bad can the sequel be?' The obvious answer is that it could be really, really bad. Luckily, it's not.

I think that there must be a ceiling on how good this could actually be. It's a low-budget sequel to a film about burrowing robotic purveyors of spinny circular saws, with severe death the only thought in their minds. Screamers: The Hunting has just about reached this ceiling.

The plot is very recognisable, even down to the early shots of our heroine Lt. Bronte (Gina Holden) in hypersleep. She's on her way to a planet (Sirius 6-B, from the original film) because of a distress call. She travels with a group of marine types (who look like something out of Gears of War on the DVD cover). Then she finds a small girl called Newt and fights the alien queen in a powerloader. Okay, maybe not the last bit.

To be honest, I didn't expect a lot storywise. But, the screamer killings needed to shine. The practical effects are up to the task. We get heads taken off by flying screamers, heads cleaved in two, heads liquidized by circular saw tongue appendages and arms rammed through bodies (and heads). There's plenty of gore, but it would benefit from some extra shots to build anticipation levels. Many gore scenes happened without me quite being ready for them, so I couldn't appreciate them fully.

The less said about the CGI effects, the better.

Even though the cast are fairly standard issue for this type of film, the one shining light is Lance Henriksen. They must have only been able to get him for a couple of days filming, but he does improve matters greatly. He doesn't really do a lot, but his onscreen presence lifts the whole film.

Altogether then, it's pretty much what you'd expect from a half-decent Screamers sequel. It is blatantly straight to DVD fodder, but still enjoyable for what it is. 

If you like this you could also try:
Screamers, Runaway, Death Machine.

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