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Species (1995)

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Plot Summary:
"A group of four specialists are given the task of tracking down Sil. "She"'s part human, part alien, beautiful, strong, very dangerous and desperate to mate with a human."

Reviewer: Josh Winning @horrorasylum
Review Date: 31 October 2001 My Rating: out of 5


# The first time I watched Species I wasn't particularly impressed. The story is basically just one long cat-and-mouse chase, with the occasional dash of nudity and gore to fill the space. But after watching it a second time, getting into the characters and ignoring what little plot holes it contains, I found Species a thoroughly enjoyable ride.

There are some great performances all round. I have always enjoyed everything that I have seen Marg Helgenberger in as she is one of those rare talents who never seems to get a mention as she doesn't do mainstream films. Forest Whitaker and Michael Madsen were also good - the latter getting some good dialogue and a cool-as-ice character, while Whitaker was occassionally annoying as the psychic, although he pulls the role off well. One feels a certain amount of sympathy towards alien-fugitive Sil, and this is also a notable introductory role from the talented and beautiful Natsha Henstridge as the hybrid alien.

Christopher Young's (seriously, this guy seems to be scoring all the great movies at the moment!) score is an added pleasure. The composer had the daring to go for something different with this. He could have gone for the outrageous blaring notes that fill such soundtracks as Alien Resurrection, but decided on something far more subtle, something in itself which reflects the moods and surroundings of the characters.

Although it contains some pitiful dialogue, the script for Species is irrefutably smart - it would have to be to create an essential cat-and-mouse chase movie watchable. The twists and turns in plot-lines come thick and fast, and all the characters are actually smart (gasp!) and cautious. Henstridge as the alien/hybrid Sil demonstrates that women in movies can be chased but still manage to seem imposing, and it was a nice gender-swap in that the woman was the threat rather than the man.

There are some neat special effects, despite the film's age. In particular, semi-morphing scenes were impressive, as parts of the alien Sil's body push through her human body (i.e spines stretch from her spine, or her alien features push under her human ones). H. R. Giger's creation is rather unique, and goes against type somewhat.

An enjoyable slice of hokum Sci-Fi, Species is a lot darker than your usual sci-fi/horror outing. Great performances all round and some interesting direction to boot. Give it a chance and it'll grow on you.

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