WRITTEN BY: Dennis Feldman
DIRECTED BY: Roger Donaldson
STARRING: Ben Kingsley as Xavier Fitch
Michael Madsen as Preston Lennox
Alfred Molina as Stephen Arden
Forest Whitaker as Dan Smithson
Marg Helgenberger as Dr. Laura Baker
Michelle Williams as Young Sil
Natasha Henstridge as Sil
Quick Cut: After receiving the code for alien DNA in a response to our SETI experiments, scientists create a human/alien hybrid creature. Once she escapes and feels the biological imperative to breed, a ragtag team of scientists and a mercenary try to track her down before she makes the human race irrelevant.
THE GUTS: Ahh, Species. With Splice coming out next week, a movie that sounds very similar to Feces, I thought it was a great time to take a look at this crappy classic. Get comfy, this is going to take awhile.
The movie kicks off in the most thrilling way possible, with its simple text credits splashed over space. Even that makes them sound more exciting than they are. This is no Superman credit sequence with a sweeping score and swooshing letters. In fact, the movie is calm and almost sedate.
After the spacescapes, the movie continues to be boring and tell us things rather than show them. And it tells us in the most boring way possible by doing it in text. Even a voiceover would have been better. Anyways, we learn that for the past 30 years our radio telescopes have been searching for alien signals. From space!
Then we're suddenly watching an episode of Lost as we come in on a closeup of a young girl's eyes fluttering open. The girl is trapped inside a small dome with all the comforts of home and none of the privacy.
As Dr. Ben "I must really need the paycheck" Kingsley watches from above, two men in bunny suits carry in tanks of cyanide and plug them into intake valves in the girl's dome home.
The worst parents ever release the gas into the dome, and Ben quietly apologises to the girl, while making sure there's at least two thick and heavy panes of glass between him and her. For maximum sorriness.
Then with one punch, she busts through the glass. No build up, no previous attempts, just a single smash and there's glass everywhere. Her first punch is perfectly strong enough to shatter the dome keeping her isolated. Next time, don't buy your girl traps at Home Depot.
She runs past the two bunnymen who are busy choking on cyanide gas, despite their gas masks. I'll admit that I don't know enough about cyanide, but that seems wrong. Just as her escape looks to be cut short by a chainlink fence, she easily scales it and slips through the one larger than most gaps in the razorwire running along the top. Conveniently located right where she ran to.
The base is suddenly awash with soldiers as they mobilise the largest manhunt since Richard Kimble didn't kill his wife. They call out soldiers, helicopters, flares, search lights, jeeps, trucks, and there's probably a tank. I don't see one, but I bet there's a tank.
As a train passes by, there's a brief scene of a strange creature writhing around, and suddenly the girl wakes up already on the train, and a hobo looming above her. All Creepy McGoldteeth gets for his interest in the girl is a toss into the nearest boxcar wall, and a snapped spine. The poor guy is bent in a very unnatural shape.
The scientists continue to search for the girl, and marvel at how fast she can travel by train. Look, I know rail travel is little more than a joke in this country, but it is actually pretty fast. When it's on time.
Once she leaves the train, she watches people exchanging money for goods and services. Since she has neither money nor plastic, she opts to just steal someone's piece of luggage and boards a train for real this time. And by that, I mean she actually climbs into a passenger car instead of jumping in the nearest open boxcar. She still has no ticket.
She wanders around the train rummaging through the stolen bag, and eventually moving on to a dining section where she easily tears open a locked drawer and steals some money stashed inside.
The girl narrowly evades capture while stealing random objects, and back in a passenger cabin, a kindly conductor asks her for her ticket. Somehow, the girl manages to not be caught out as a stowaway, and even manages to pay for a ticket right then and there. On top of that, she only pays half price because the conductor is just that kindly.
The King of Siam comes across the broken hobo, and thanks to DNA found in the wounds they know he was killed by their little girl. Their search continues as they decide to not shut down the railroads since that would raise too many questions. And how many will the mass carnage cause?
We finally start to meet the rest of our cast. First there's Michael Madsen as Preston Lennox dropping off his cat as he heads out to hunt for the girl. Then there's Dan, played by Forest Whitaker. Dan's in a psychiatrist office whining about being different, when he says someone is at the door before there's a knock. The doctor decides to not get it and focus on Dan's problems, but Dan knows it's for him, and heads off with the suited goon on the other side of the door without any questions.
After another pulsing dream sequence where the girl is being chased by H.R. Giger's trainset, she wakes up and sees a scab on her hand. When she looks in the mirror, she sees more, as well as her face beginning to writhe and pulse.
Pulsing sores burst open on her hands, and things burst free of her face in the first reported case of Morgellons syndrome. Long tentacle like protrusions grow and grow, and wrap around her, lifting and pinning her to the wall and...wait, can you tentacle rape yourself?
While that bit of ickyness carries on, we meet the rest of the team forming to hunt her down. Dan is there of course, and Dan isn't just any old psychic. Oh no, Dan is an empath, the lamest kind of psychic. He says he can feel things very deeply. Well, good for you, you can feel emotions. Welcome to the human race.
Then there's the comparatively normal Doctor Otto Octavius...er, Stephen Arden, who's a Harvard expert in cross cultural behaviour. Also Dr. Laura Baker, who worked in molecular biology before she went off to work in Las Vegas with their CSI department. Finally, there's Preston, a man of mystery, who is pretty much there to be a badass since things have gotten bad.
Oh, never mind mystery, the movie just blurts out he's a government hired killer.
Back on the train, the kindly conductor hears the girl's stolen portable tv going late at night, and pokes in to investigate. All she finds is a ton of discarded wrappers and half eaten food.
As she explores the apparently vacant room, she finds the chrysalis the girl got sealed up in dangling from the ceiling. She leans in close and of course something bursts out and grabs her, sucking her inside. See what being nice gets you in these movies? I bet the badass killer survives the movie.
After the chrysalis bursts open and the movie gives birth to an older woman as well as Natasha Henstridge's career (Read: She flashes her breasts), the movie goes back to our assembled heroes as they get an infodump from Professor Xavier...wait, that's not a joke? That's his real name?? Dudes, never make your bald scientists be named Xavier. You just make our jokes all that much easier.
But I digress. Xavier tells us about the SETI broadcasts the movie alread told us about, making the earlier text overs utterly pointless and even more boring in retrospect. They could have just given all the same information now from Kingsley, and made the movie all the more mysterious as to why they had this girl locked up and what was going on.
He tells his team all about the messages we sent out 30 years ago, and that they got a response in 1993. They received two messages; the first of which gave us a better formula for methane that would enable our cows to produce more energetic farts. The other message was a new sequence of DNA and instructions on how to merge it with our own. Now, I don't care how friendly you think these aliens are sending you formulas for cheap sources of energy, there is no rationale that would make it a good idea to shove alien DNA on top of our own.
Now, they implanted 100 embryos. Fortunately only seven managed to even divide, and of those only three survived. One became the girl, nicknamed Sil, and the other two were frozen for later use. Oh my gods, imagine if all 100 became viable? And they didn't decide to freeze them? This could have been a huge problem.
Xavier Fitch shows the rapid growth of Sil, to a young girl in only a matter of months. He felt it best to keep her in isolation, which is at least a sign of intelligent life somewhere in this film. Dan says she didn't like being locked up and alone. Gee, did your special empath powers tell you that from a videotape, or common freaking sense?
Then Fitch shows a sleeping Sil, and Dan starts freaking out and almost crying over her displaying rapid eye movement, quivering, and making a shrieking sound. Since normal humans are unable to tell what's going on, the empath has to make it clear that she is having nightmares. Thanks, Dan!
Dan continues to use his amazing powers of observation that would put such men as John Edward to shame and tells us that gassing Sil was not a decision that Xavier was happy with. Because we need this chump to tell us what one of the greatest actors of his time is trying to emote. If I was Kingsley, I'd be deeply insulted that I'm clearly showing sorrow and this guy has to spell it out for the audience.
Can you tell that I really, really hate Hollywood empaths?
Dan says that there will be more killings, which is clearly because Sil's two eyes are in front, like in all predatory species. Ok, that may be a true fact of predators, but he could also say that of Every Person In That Room! Oh, and since her DNA is half human, of COURSE her eyes are in front.
Lennox saves us from Dan's observations and tells the team their job is to kill Sil rather than capture her, and end any threat she may pose. Which may be the first smart thing anyone has said in this movie. He may be a heartless killer, but I like him already. He deserves to live, because he has a brain.
Meanwhile, grown up Sil arrives in Los Angeles wearing the conductor's clothes. A lot of lesser films would have gotten a properly tailored suit for Natasha to show off her form, forgetting the vast size difference between her and the conductor, but points to Feces for at least using something similar to the costume of the conductor, and it looks way too big and baggy, like it should.
The Super Science Squad are brought to the isolated train car with the chrysalis, and board it, witnessing the horror within. They see the burst sac, the oozy placenta on the floor, and the conductor's dead body. It's smelly, there's flies, and it is just not a pretty scene.
In case all that wasn't clear, Dan walks in the room and sadly declares, "Something bad happened here."
NO SHIT, SHERLOCK.
What was your first clue? The dead body, maybe? Or was it the giant alien egg sac attached to the wall that is unlike anything an Earthly creature has ever created? Or did you use your special empathic powers...KNOWN AS YOUR EYEBALLS?
At least Lennox also calls him on it, but GEEZE.
And he just doesn't stop, as he makes such apt deductions that the conductor was afraid. Because most people are happy to be strangled. Ok, there are people into autoerotic asphyxiation, but that's a small subset of the population.
Before Dan can open his mouth, Lennox again shows that he's the brain amongst these scientists (And Dan) and tells people to start keeping an eye out for the conductor's ID and cards, since they weren't in the room. I guess Dan's empathic abilities can't sense robberies.
Sil wanders into a bridal shop, probably drawn in by the shiny, pretty, lacey things and buys a dress. I'd say something about blending in, but this is LA. Who would notice?
While the team starts to get settled in at a hotel, Dr. Laura asks why they don't create a creature from pure alien DNA, so they know what they're really up against. Gee, I dunno. Maybe because the half and half mix isn't very pleasant, so the fully alien half is probably worse? Xavier somehow thinks this is a good idea, but I at least hope they get better glass for their container.
Sil gets a motel room, and she seems oddly well-versed in our society for being only a few months or years old, and having spent her entire life in a hamster cage. Even provided that they taught her some basics, why would they teach her about motels? Eh, whatever. She's a clever, fast learning alien hybrid. I can run with it, I guess.
Wait, let me just rant a bit more. She can understand the transaction of money for a motel room, but she doesn't comprehend what a remote control is, or what it does, and gets a jump when the tv turns on? They can't seem to decide just how much she knows. If they gave us sequences of her maybe watching someone get a room and learning, we could at least track this in a reasonable way.
But enough of the attractive blonde woman, we have action galore back with the science team to follow! Thrill as we sit and watch them very slowly and deliberately try put alien DNA in a cell! ACTION!
Gasp! The camera they were using broke just as they were about to put the DNA into the egg...wait, where did that come from? They're trying to make a pure creature, so what are they injecting the alien DNA into? And just how did they make the DNA? It only came to us as a radio signal. Did someone sit there and piece together the Ts, Gs, Cs, and As?
Anyways, they have a backup camera, but it will take time for the trained technician to get there and fix it. You know what? Wake me when the killing starts again.
The act of replacing the camera is literally just unplugging the old one, and plugging the new one in. One cable. A monkey could do this. A brain damaged monkey. With one hand. And no eyes. Yet they had to wait for a technician. Or use two people there to do it. Hooking up my satellite receive is more complex.
Fortunately we have Dan the Man there to tell us that something's wrong as the new camera starts up and we see that they still impregnated the cell when the old one broke. In fact, the alien DNA is already rapidly dividing. Laura races to get the box sealed up to keep the glop contained. Because a glass box kept Sil contained so well.
UNfortunately, Murphy swings by with his law, and they drop the last bolt needed, and it falls down through the coincidentally grated floor. Because a normal floor would have made too much sense.
Ominous music builds trying to make the dividing cells on the tv screen seem important and dramatic. They try to lift the grate to lift the bolt, but it's welded down. At which point Dan is his usual helpful self and tells them to lift the grate. After he's been told it's welded down and they've been trying to lift it. I swear, every line he says could be replied to with, "No shit, Sherlock."
Laura can't take her eyes off the growing pile of goo, and urges Preston to take a look too. Hey, here's an idea; instead of watching the killer DNA sample grow larger, howabout getting the hell out?
Xavier, rightly so, refuses to let them out though for fear of letting loose the unsecure alien creature currently at least quarantined in the room. Lennox starts bashing at the giant window between the lab and the control room with a chair, because his life is more important than the entire fate of the planet. Professor X tries to burn the creature with a firebomb attached to the unsealed container, but it doesn't quite do the job.
Lennox grabs a nearby gas line in the room and uses it to create a makeshift flamethrower to try and use that as a better chance of making his alien steak a little more well-done.
Outside the lab, Dan is yelling and yelling for Xavier to open the door and let them out, and baldy finally has enough and literally screeches at Dan to shut up. Thank you, Mister Kingsley. I could not agree more.
Tearing a pipe off the wall, with no regard for what it might be, Lennox uses that to stab the creature until it's maybe dead. Xavier is about to let them out when he sees the cell division hasn't stopped, and the creature increases size that much more as it oozes behind the pipes against the wall. What ARE those things for? Just decoration?
The team of supposedly intelligent scientists continue to yell at Fitch to let them out and risk this ever-growing creature loose into the world. Are they morons? Seriously. Burn the creature. Burn it good. Burn the room, burn it all down. Make sure that thing is dead. But no, the stupid wins out and they shove the best actor in this entire movie out of the way to open the door for their two friends, risking the entire world in the process.
But enough of that...boobies!
Er, I mean, back to Henstridge trying to figure out how to get dressed. Which she already was, so what's the problem? I guess the movie needed more nakedness.
She gets directions from the hotel desk monkey to a nearby club to find a man. Before she leaves, he gets her to give him the conductor's credit card to cover any extra room charges, which sends up a red flag and alerts Xavier. He gathers the team and they pile into the Mystery Machine.
Sil immediately targets a guy at the club, but another alien needing sex swoops in and claims him. Or she might be just a drunken floozy. It's so hard to tell these days. Sil follows her competition into the ladies room then immediately leaves, but the woman is soon grabbed from behind as Sil's alien arm punches through the wall into her stall. Then tears the woman's spine out.
As the team follows the trail from the motel owner to the club, Sil passes the guy from before and takes off her top, leaving her to wander the club in nothing but her bra. She passes him by and heads straight for another guy. She does kinda have her pick of the place, I guess.
The guy she picks looks like he's in a grunge band, but his house is behind a large gate, and up a lengthy driveway that you can't even see the house at the end of. He does not seem like the sort who would have a home like that.
While Sil disrobes, as much as she can at this point, the guy strokes her cheek, and a flash goes across her face, and she senses something. Her interest in the guy fades instantly, and she wants to go back to the club.
Not surprisingly, the guy has no intention of doing that, now that he has a naked girl in his house. He starts to get rough and angry with Sil, and you just know that can't end well.
She relents and calms down, and things seem to be going well enough as they kiss. Until his eyes begin to bulge and he tries to peel himself away from the girl. It's already too late though as a spiny protrusion bursts out of the back of his skull and splashes blood everywhere.
The Date Police swarm the place, letting Lennox take the lead. He scouts the place out while Sil washes the blood off her face in the shower. He comes across the dead body, and hears the shower running. When he opens the door though, there isn't any Sil to be found. I bet she has the Predator's cloaker.
The rest of the Science Squad show up and gather around the dead guy to discuss what happened. Oh look, Dan has something to say. "She was angry. He did something to her." Well, no shit. I thought she tongue-fucked his uvula because she was full of happiness and joy.
Dr. Laura at least has something to contribute and deduces that Sil is trying to mate. Lennox points out the guy still has his pants on, so no mating happened here. Again, Baker correctly deduces that there must have been something wrong with him that Sil could sense. it isn't long before she finds insulin, so diabetics just aren't Sil's type.
The team head back to Sil's motel room and start scouring for evidence, since they rushed past it earlier to try and stop her before she killed anyone. Good job on that one, gang.
Sil drives by seeing all the police, just as Danny boy points out she probably won't come back when she sees all the cars. Or with people IN HER ROOM. That might not help any either.
We get treated to another swirling, flashing dream sequence of the Smurfs from hell as Sil sleeps the night away in the dead guy's stolen BMW. She drives off, not very sure of herself or what she's doing, and accidentally turns on the wipers. But she drove it just fine last night. Did the Smurfy dream wipe her memory? Can it wipe mine of this movie?
Her driving is short lived though, as the car soon runs out of gas. Sil continues on foot, and she's checking out all the guys around the streets, until she distractedly walks into the intersection and gets run over.
Back at their HQ, the Science Squad are magically enhancing the motel security footage to get a better look at Sil, a skill which Dr. Laura will later bring to her future CSI employers, while discussing their target. Dan informs us that she wants to have a baby. You know what? He's not empathic. He's brain damaged. How many times have others said that so far, in front of him, before now? And he just now decides that he has to tell us the same thing?
Doc Ock is full of sweetness and light as he postulates what a male baby could do, how many women it could impregnate and spread the DNA strain. Fortunately they get a call about the abandoned BMW before he can get into just how screwed we are with a superior predator introduced into our ecosystem.
Meanwhile, a helpful motorist got Sil to the hospital and offers to pay for the Jane Doe's insurance. Out of the kindness of his groin, I'm sure.
She's fine though, since her wounds heal faster than Wolverine before her doctor's eyes. She tries to leave but runs into the Jeff Daniels clone who brought her in.
Dan is sitting in the abandoned BMW with that vacant look in his eyes he gets before trying to be empathic. And here it comes... "She walked. She walked that way." You are sitting in her car. Which is out of gas and abandoned. Of course she walked. What did you expect her to do, fly? And again of course she walked in the direction the car is pointing. She was driving that way, so that's the direction she's heading in.
They catch up to the hospital after hearing reports of her healing factor, get the credit card info of Sil's saviour, and from that they get his address. To the science mobile!
Sil and her guy start making out in the hot tub, and as Dr. Baker tries to call him, Sil keeps him occupied and unable to pick up the phone. Yeah, I'd pay more attention to the naked girl than the phone too.
They leave a message on John's answering machine, but John never hears it, and neither do we. If the phone is nearby, where's the answering machine? I hear my answering machine speaking when it gets a message, why don't we hear his? Aside from plot fiat.
Sil is more than eager to get down to business, but that's a little too fast for John, and he tries to keep her at bay. Just then, Lennox and Baker arrive and jiggle the doorknob. Now THAT they hear. Over the noise of the stereo and hot tub and through the entire distance of the house. But we never heard the answering machine. I'm just saying, that's all.
The alien girl tries to keep the guy in the hot tub, and says the four words guaranteed to make him run the other way; I want a baby.
As John tries to get away from the crazy baby lady, Sil begins to morph with ridges forming around her face. Her eyes morph and she takes on the look of a cross between a lizard from V (The original), and he xenomorphs in Alien. Which isn't surprising since H.R. Giger designed the xenomorphs and Sil's alien form.
Lennox and the doctor circle the place at an excruciatingly slow pace, as aleinated Sil holds the guy underwater. Which probably isn't good for him. It's never made clear why she kills him, since he didn't copulate, and nothing was said to be wrong with him. I guess she didn't want to leave any witnesses when the Science Squad finally walks the next five feet.
By the time they finally manage that, John is floating face down in the blood-dimmed tides of the hot tub, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned.
As they search the grounds, the movie gives us the most original, yet completely cheesy jumpscare ever, as Dr. Baker is scared by something leaping out of a tree, and she's assaulted by a squeaking, shrieking squirrel.
The rest of the team arrive, and Dan lets everyone know that Sil was there. Whew, I wasn't sure, what with the dead body and all. Lennox snarks at him with a simple, sarcastic, "Yeah. She was." I'm not sure if the character is getting fed up with Dan's proclamations, or that's just how Michael Madsen naturally sounds. Guess which one I'm going with?
Dan stares off into the woods nearby, almost directly at Sil in the bushes. You know what would be really handy right now? If the team had someone who could sense things like emotions, and presences. Because then they might know Sil was there. OH, IF ONLY WE HAD AN EMPATH!
Fuck, Dan is useless.
While Sil dives nakedly into a woman's car asking for help, the team is still combing for evidence, and find no signs of intercourse between her and dead body #2. Dan's skills kick in and he lets everyone know she was interupted. This time Kingsley replies, and I *know* he's getting aggravated at the obvious proclamations of obviousness.
Xavier tells them to pack it in for the night, while we see Sil watching from a car and pulling a Jedi mind trick on him to get the team to stay watching the club tomorrow night.
Sil follows them all back to the hotel and watches Lennox enter the elevator. From what we've seen, he's not the sort that would be oblivious to a hot girl. And add to that the fact she looks like the hot girl he's trying to kill. They may not have a good picture of Sil, but she's standing right there! He has some idea what she looks like, and is trained to be suspicious.
And again with the weird blue dreams. This time Sil dreams of being naked as she beckons Lennox closer, who strips off his clothes, then more shots of the writhing aliens.
She wakes up next to the woman she kidnapped, and they divert into an existential discussion for a moment before Sil cuts off her thumb with a pair of shears. We then get to see she really is Wolverina as it grows back in a snap.
Er...well, not a SNAP, per se, since you can't...without a...well, y'know...thumb.
She then hacks off the other woman's thumb, without as favourable results. I guess we can't all be Claire Bennett. Sil tosses the human thumb in the trash and drives off.
Alien girl fills up some gas cans and steals another car, while her persuers are stuck with their thumbs up their asses at the club, thanks to her orders via Xavier. I thought he was supposed to be the telepath?
Dan gets a feeling and steps outside the club, running face first into Sil. So NOW his empathic abilities are worth a damn? He runs back to the door of the club as she escapes and shouts through the door to the gang. Any of you ever been to a club? Do you think you could get ANYONE'S attention by shouting into it from the outside? Me neither.
As they chase Sil around the curvy roads in the hills of LA, and we get one of the best little details in a movie I've seen as we can actually hear the sloshing gas bottles, even though you can't see them. I appreciate that detail.
Anyways, you can see where this is going. She drives off the road and jumps out of the car just as it plows into some high voltage boxes, and that blows up the car and gasoline real good. The team find the body and Sil's thumb, so the DNA tests will make them think she died in the fiery wreck. That's a pretty clever plan from someone who couldn't figure out a remote control a few days ago.
I love the choppers that Fitch brought along on the chase launching missles at the burning car just to be sure she's toast.
Neither Lennox nor Dan buy that she's dead, so maybe Dan isn't a total moron. Xavier is more than willing to move on, especially when they find the thumb. He's almost ready to skip the DNA test to be sure. And to think, he was the smart one earlier.
With Sil in the clear for the time being, she gives herself a makeover by giving herself a haircut and a dye job. Y'know, that would've worked just as well, and been a lot easier than the elaborate faking of her death.
The Science Squad have some downtime to celebrate, and as they specifically order another round, Dan says he doesn't drink. Isn't that something he would've said while ordering the first round? Not making a big deal out of this one, but hello, clunky dialogue.
Since Sil has targeted Lennox as her next potential mate, she sees the budding romance between him and Laura as a threat. She runs into Laura in the ladies room, and the doctor is completely oblivious. See? The death was unnecessary.
Sil follows Lennox to Laura's room, and listens as they start to bang against it, wasting no time. She spies housekeeping passing by and gets an idea.
Rather than show us someone getting killed, we're instead treated to Stephen and Dan hanging out at the bar. I would have rather seen the maid get it, really. Sil uses her newly aquired keys to sneak into the adjacent room to Baker, while Stephen has zero luck with women.
Having struck out with who knows how many women since we last saw him, Stephen returns to his room, and wouldn't you know it? That's the same room Sil has broken into. See? He didn't have to hit on girls at the bar, he got one special ordered to his room. Granted, she's a sex-crazed, breeding obsessed, half-alien killer, but beggars can't be choosers.
Of course, she still isn't recognised, and Stephen is more than willing to bang the hot brunette who stumbled into his room.
You would think the strange girl instantly shedding clothes the picosecond a male is in her presence might be a tip off, but men aren't exactly the smartest creatures in front of naked women.
Meanwhile, Dan manages to not be a total waste of time, as he suddenly flashes on the idea that Sil is there. He gets this idea from seeing a commercial for hair dye. Ok, that might make him think she changed her looks, but the jump from that to, "The call is coming from inside the house!" is way of a stretch. That's a bit beyond him, especially since he couldn't twig to her presence in the woods.
Personally, I figure he's in the next room over from Stephen and heard the headboard banging against the wall. Knowing how rarely Adler gets laid, Dan was instantly sure that the alien was having sex with him. Because who else would?
Dan hurries to Baker's room and interupts those two from their own activities. In the time it takes them to get ready, Stephen's already done, and Sil is impregnated.
Lennox busts down Stephen's door, just as Sil pulls a Loony Tunes and bashes straight throught he wall. They give chase and leave Stephen's corpse behind.
They make their way into the hotel basement, and when they find a dead worker, Preston steals Dan's line and says Sil came through there. I would mock HIS obviousness, but it is a refreshing change of pace, and he also doesn't claim to be empathic.
Sil's trail continues to lead them down into the sewers, and they ask Dan for directions. His randomly disappearing for the sake of plot convenience abilities decide to take another vacation, and Dan can't sense which way she went. Why is he here again? He almost was worthwhile when he tried to save Stephen, but they were too late, like they are to everything in this movie.
Finally, he picks a direction that Lennox and Baker take, but Xavier is just as fed up with Dan's inconsistency as I am, so goes in the opposite direction.
Xavier spies some bubbles in the murky depths of the sewer, and follows them until Sil leaps out of the muck and kills her father. Let me take this opportunity to point out that DAN WAS WRONG. The one time they actually ask him to guide them, and he was wrong. So wrong, Fitch got killed for his mistake.
They find the mercifully disposed of body of Ben Kingsley floating in the water, and Dan says he can feel Sil and points in a direction. The last time you gave a direction, not two minutes ago, you got it absolutely, completely wrong in the exact opposite way. Why would they trust you now? Oh, and your powers are suddenly working again? The hell?
The team continues along the catwalks, and Dan almost senses something as they pass underneath Sil hiding in the pipes overhead, but he brushes it off. For fuck's sake, make up your mind. His powers are as inconsistent as Rob Liefeld's ability to draw feet. One minute he's a quivering mass that has no idea where to go, then he can point right where she is, then he can't sense shit as he walks underneath her. Dan's powers literally work on every alternating minute.
With the team's numbers rapidly dwindling, they find a crack in the wall that opens up onto an underground cavern. Baker says it must have opened up in 'the earthquake'. Now, I know California has it's fair share of earthquakes, and there was probably one near the time of this movie. But simply calling something 'the earthquake' feels really vague to me and like I missed something, since this is literally the only time it's mentioned the entire movie.
Imagine if Spider-Man said his parents died during 'the blizzard' in a story. What blizzard? When? That's too vague!
But I admit, that's being real nitpicky, and just something that felt weird to me.
They descend deeper and deeper into the caves beneath LA, as Sil writhes in pre-birth anguish. The team eventually comes upon a pool of oil. This is just getting weirdly random now. They keep going deeper and deeper, and now there's oil? Is there some sort of symbolism of going from the modern city, through its bowels, and back to the most basic, primordial things underneath the surface? Am I being more clever than the creators probably were?
Dan wanders off on his own and comes across something nestled back in the oddest shaped nook ever. He tries to get a better look at it, but I say fry it first, ask questions and do a DNA test later. The worse he does is deep fry something someone tossed down the toilet. Torch it before it can get a chance to kill you.
Anyways, it turns out to be a glop covered baby that's already well into development, and probably equivalent to a one or two year old. Plot convenience demands they grow faster than Sil, I guess.
Dan just stands there and continues to be useless and watches the baby, which could only be there from Sil, try to get a rat. When his hand isn't doing the trick, he pulls a frogger and shoots his tongue out and nabs the rodent. And still Dan just watches. Burn the alien deathspawn, already!
The empathic wonder climbs even closer to the kidlet, while holding a giant flamethrower, saying no one wants to hurt him. YES. YES WE DO WANT TO HURT HIM. It wants to hurt us! Or fuck us! Maybe both! Nothing good comes from this kid living. You're supposed to be empathic, you can sense it's a threat, if you DIDN'T SUCK.
Alien babyspawn takes to Dan about as well as I did, and gives him a tongue lashing. And this is why we kill the aliens trying to kill us first you idiot. Unfortunately Dan falls backwards and the kid misses, so he lives.
Dan climbs back up to where he was, but the kid has gone missing. Oh, if only we had some sort of weapon that shoots flames and could have fried it when it was sitting right there. Something like that would have been helpful.
But no, the kid's alive and jumps out of the darkness at Dan, revealing it's transformed state, and generating another jumpscare. At least this one is kinda earned. And not a squirrel.
Dan just stands there transfixed by the CGI, and the thing has enough time to bound at Dan twice before he finally fires at it, and setting it ablaze. At last. It flies right over Dan's head and into the oil.
As Lennox finally rushes back from wherever he was taking his pee break, Sil isn't pleased with her baby becoming barbecue. She grabs Lennox from above with...wait, what are... Ok, she actually has tendrils that shoot out of her nipples and grab Preston by the neck. I...can't even process this. He is being strangled by nipple tentacles. Why would a creature develop breasts with offensive capabilities?? Do the tendrils aid in the feeding of their offspring somehow, and just have a secondary purpose? Do the MEN have them?! Why am I trying to make sense out of the twisted things that leak out of H.R. Giger's ears?
He cuts himself free from the...tendrils, and while Dan dangles for his life over the fiery pit of oil, Lennox empties an entire clip of bullets into Sil and sends her back into the oil. I'd do the same thing if something tried to kill me with nipple tentacles.
That would normally be the end of things, but this is a horror movie. As the other two are trying to pull Dan to safety, Sil leaps out of the fiery crude and grabs his leg. I bet Dan didn't see that coming.
Which is sad, because I SURE DID!
Lennox gets a grenade loaded into one of his guns, and while Laura shouts out, "Get rid of her, Pres!" I always hear it as, "Get rid of her breasts!" no matter what.
The grenade blows Sil's head to teeny, tiny alien bits, and they pull Dan to safety. Sigh. There truly is no justice in the world. Dan gives one last observation that he thought he was dead. What, he can't even 'feel' if he's alive or not now?!
Ok ok, I'm just being mean, now.
Laura gives one last ponderance on the nature of the creature, wondering which half of Sil was truly the predator, the human half or the alien. You want to know which half? THE HALF WITH ATTACK NIPPLES! And that is certainly not from the human side of the family tree.
We last see a rat chewing on Sil's severed nipple tendril, and it instantly transforms into an alien rat hybrid and tongues another nearby rat. The scientists had to go through this long process to splice together human and alien DNA, but now it can bond just by being ingested? Sil should spread her species by just opening up a 'sushi' bar if that's the case. What an absurd bullshit note to end on.
Video: This is a rock solid video transfer, in my opinion. Everything is clear, sharp, and easy to see. This was a big budget Hollywood production, and filmed on good stock, fairly recently.
Audio: Another solid mix, with sounds all around, and clearly a modern day, big budget affair.
Special Features: Another one backed by being a big Hollywood film, so this is actually a double disc collector's edtion, with two informative commentaries, and a second disc full of features looking at the making of the movie, and an alternate ending.
Best Line: ANYTHING Dan says. Not because they're funny in their own right, but because they are so downright laughable. They will either make you cry, or die laughing. I lean towards crying myself.
First Kill: The hobo on the train, at 7:40 as Sil tosses him into the boxcar wall, breaking him almost in two.
Best Kill: So many to choose from. While the death of the woman in the car is pretty spectacular, it's almost too complex for its own good, and a bit impersonal. I'm going with Sil's competition that she tears the spine out of in the bathroom. I'm a sucker for spinal surgery.
Blood Type: A+ all the way! There is blood all over this film, and even some placental ickyness to boot. The movie doesn't deliver much, but it does bring the blood to the table.
Sex Appeal: Michael Madsen gets to show his ass, and there's also naked Alfred Molina having sex. And a few other naked guys. Oh wait, that Natasha girl is naked for almost the entire film, if that interests you.
Movie Rating: As a movie, this is probably the best we'll ever see here. It is well shot. The editing is good. The CG isn't half bad at all for being an early use of it in 1995. The acting from most of the cast is top notch. Ben Freakin' Kingsley, people. If you ignore the actual writing of the movie, this is actually really good. But sadly, there IS the writing to deal with, and it drags down great production values to my level.
This is absolutely the most Hollywood, biggest budget movie I've done so far. But the plot is straight out of the b-movie handbook. Feces is a movie of missed opportunities. That is the only way to sum it up. They assembled a great cast and waste them. The story itself has merit. Dan is an utter waste of a character who could have been just as effective, if not moreso, without psychic abilities that NEVER WORK. Alfred Molina does nothing in this film, besides have sex in the last fifteen minutes. In fact, NONE of the scientists abilities are ultimately important, or even used. Only Madsen's character is actually important to be who he is. They try to bring up this point at the end of the movie about who the real predators are, the aliens or the humans. Oh my gods, that could have been an amazing thematic thing to explore in and of itself, but the movie never builds up to it or shows the humans being particularly predatory, besides the NECESSITY to look for Sil, so it's instead wasted as a tossed off line. Imagine if that was what the movie was about? Just think about it. Missed opportunities at every turn.
So, I guess that boils down to this being a very well-produced bad movie, and as a piece of film, I can't really give it more than a two out of five frozen embryos. Better writing would have made for a better rating.
Entertainment Rating: I have a huge hate for this movie. It's barely even entertaining. Dan could be, but instead he just fills me with pain and rage. The movie actually tends to be rather boring. They try to make science exciting. The movie sucks the life out of most scenes. The only reason to see this movie is to watch Natasha Henstridge for almost two hours. The gore isn't that great although it is plentiful. The monster design is derivative of the obvious source. Three out of five nipple tentacles on entertainment value.
A bad movie happened here.