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SCREAMERS ($30) is a genuinely entertaining sci-fi thriller based upon a short story by legendary author Philip K. Dick. The plot of SCREAMERS unfolds upon an alien world where human colonists are fighting a civil war against the New Economic Bloc- the company back home that has financed their mining operation. Since the NEB had more resources at their disposal, the war had been going badly for the rebel alliance, that is, until a new form of anti-personnel weapon had been deployed against the NEB forces. The new weapon is known as Screamers. Screamers were given that name because of the ear-piercing whine they make when in operation. These Screamers sense enemy life forms and dispatch them by cutting them into little pieces.

Not only are the Screamers efficient killing machines, they also clean up after themselves by carting away all traces of their victims. SCREAMERS stars Peter Weller Joseph Hendricksson, the rebel alliance commander who is invited to meet with the leaders of the opposing faction to discuss a peace treaty. Hendricksson makes the trek to the enemy encampment, but along the way makes a horrifying discovery. The Screamers have begun to modify themselves, in essence evolve into even more deadly killing machines that can now mimic human beings. The cast of SCREAMERS also features Roy Dupuis, Jennifer Rubin, Andrew Lauer, Charles Powell, Ron White and Michael Caloz. While the plot does contain a number of cliches, director Christian Duguay effectively maintains the tension level througout. SCREAMERS also features some impressive special effects work that lends believability to the story.

Columbia TriStar Home Video has made SCREAMERS available on DVD in both wide screen and full screen presentations. The full screen presentation looks fine for those who must, but the wide screen presentation is so much better and it features the anamorphic enhancement. SCREAMERS is framed at 1.85:1 and has balanced looking compositions. The transfer has a sharp image and a high level of detail. Colors are fairly strong and hot hues reproduce without any color noise or distortion. Digital compression artifacts were never an issue.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack has a terrific mix, far beyond what I expected. All of the discrete channels are used aggressively, especially the surround channels. Sound effects come from everywhere and draw the viewer into the world of SCREAMERS. Bass reproduction was also pretty solid and the dialogue sounded clean and natural. Spanish and French language soundtracks have also been included, in addition to an English Dolby Surround track. English, French and Spanish subtitles are provided on the DVD.

The interactive menus have a simple interface and offer access to a theatrical trailer, plus the standard scene and language selection features.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1999 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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