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Details At A Glance

Category Science Fiction Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1
Rating Other Trailer(s) Yes, 2 - Dolby Digital City, Columbia Tristar DVD Promo
Year Released 1996 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 104 minutes Other Extras Cast & Crew Filmographies
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 4 Director Christian Duguay

Columbia Tristar
Starring Peter Weller
Roy Dupuis
Jennifer Rubin
Andy Lauer
Case Transparent Amaray
RRP $34.95 Music Normand Corbeil

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 2.0 )
English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
German (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision Yes
Subtitles English
Smoking Yes 

Plot Synopsis

    Screamers. The premise sounds good. A war is taking place between an all-powerful mining company (the N.E.B.) and its miners and scientists (the Alliance), based fundamentally around working conditions. The Alliance create a devastating new weapon, the Screamer, which is a burrowing machine which homes in on anything with a heartbeat and cuts it to shreds. Unfortunately, the Screamers begin to evolve...

    Yep, the premise sounds good. The movie looks good. The movie sounds good. But, the movie's plot is, well, it stinks, big time. It blows chunks, to quote Wayne's World. It hurls. Why? The characters are all stereotypical and one-dimensional. The characters continually do and say really really stupid things. Basically, you end up hoping they will all hurry up and die. There is no suspense since it is blindingly obvious what the sting in the tail of this movie is going to be. This is a really really bad movie.

    I feel I just have to give you a few examples of the really stupid things these characters do. The all-time stupidest thing that the grunt character does is go out onto the battlefield, with the very deadly Screamers all about, and with an unknown amount of N.E.B. enemy force around, and the first thing he does is to put on his (presumably Sony) Discman so he can't hear any them coming. The second thing he does is take off his protective bracelet making him vulnerable to Screamer attack. Well, duh! The movie is filled with really ridiculous things like this, from all of the characters.

    Peter Weller fluffs about aimlessly as the Alliance commander. The rest of the cast are not worth mentioning by name. Suffice it to say that we have; the rookie grunt who does stupid things, the beautiful but resourceful female who does stupid things, the shell-shocked warrior geek who does stupid things, the callous drifter who does stupid things and the innocent-looking child who isn't so innocent who does really cool things, like trying to eliminate other cast members.

Transfer Quality


    Columbia Tristar have done a sterling job on the transfer of this movie to DVD .

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer was very sharp and very clear throughout. One special effects sequence (the hologram) was a little grainy, but I'm sure that this was how the original interpositive must have looked because otherwise the transfer was pristine. Shadow detail was excellent, and no low level noise was apparent.

    The colours were well rendered at all times. There are a lot of browns in this movie, which always come up well on DVD.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of trivial aliasing which passed in the blinking of an eye. Film artefacts were extremely rare and virtually non-existent.


    There are four audio tracks on this DVD - English Dolby Digital 2.0, surround-encoded, English Dolby Digital 5.1, and both French and German Dolby Digital 5.1. I listened to the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. As is always the inexplicable case when an English 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack is on a Columbia Tristar disc, this is the default soundtrack

    Dialogue was pretty much always spot on and easy to understand, with the exception of a few words here and there.

    There were no audio sync problems.

    The score by Normand Corbeil was unremarkable.

     The surround channels were used aggressively for music, ambience and special effects. It is a very nice mix indeed, and very enveloping. Split surrounds are often utilized for aggressive surround placement of moving objects.

    The .1 channel received a good workout, and was heavily used to support the numerous explosions and gunshots and special effects in this movie.


    The DVCC splash is on this disc. The Dolby Digital City trailer on this disc.


    The menu design is a standard Columbia Tristar menu. Functional, but plain. The menu is not 16x9 enhanced.

Theatrical Trailer

    This is presented at an aspect ratio of 4:3 (1.33:1), non-16x9 enhanced, with very soft Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.

DVD Trailer

    This is the new Columbia Tristar teaser trailer. It is presented at an aspect ratio of 4:3 with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.


    This is a comprehensive list of the stars' and the director's film credits. Compared with early efforts, these filmographies appear much more complete.


    Screamers is a great looking and great sounding movie. Unfortunately, it is also one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Rent this one if you like "bad movies" - it's a real humdinger of a bad movie.

    The video quality is exceptionally good.

    The audio quality is a good, aggressive, surrounding mix.

    The extras are limited but acceptable.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
11th May 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer