Screamers (1996)


A collection of soldiers and refugees from a civil war on an abandoned colony planet are hunted by an army of self replicating killing machines that have evolved from their own mechanical booby traps.

Screamers actually starts with a lot of promise as the usual sci-fi cliches are tempered with some interesting politics and an underlying message about the dangers of meaningless cold wars and the ultimate price to pay for the arms races that accompany them. The no-name cast acquit themselves reasonably well and despite the variable quality of some of the effects, it provides some atmospheric and tense scenes as the motley crew of survivors attempt to evade their unseen enemies. Unfortunately the script didn’t seem to know where to go from there and it all gets a little twist happy and silly by the end. But the biggest problem with Screamers is it treads the same ground as some of the best sci-fi films of all time – namely Aliens and The Terminator – and seriously suffers in comparison, especially considering how low budget and straight to DVD it all feels. It’s certainly not terrible however, and a strong performance by Peter Weller and some inventive sequences make it a reasonably entertaining way to wile away an hour and a half.

If you haven’t seen either of the aforementioned classics though, there’s really no contest.



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