Species

ALIEN meets BASIC INSTINCT in this textbook illustration of what happens when millions of dollars' worth of technical expertise is brought to bear on a cheap, exploitative script. In a top-secret Utah laboratory, scientists prepare to murder a young girl, Sil (Michelle Williams), with cyanide gas, but she escapes and hops a Los Angeles-bound train. Project...read more

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  • Species Monday Jan 29th, 1:50am

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ALIEN meets BASIC INSTINCT in this textbook illustration of what happens when millions of dollars' worth of technical expertise is brought to bear on a cheap, exploitative script. In a top-secret Utah laboratory, scientists prepare to murder a young girl, Sil (Michelle Williams), with cyanide gas, but she escapes and hops a Los Angeles-bound train. Project head Dr. Xavier Fitch (Ben Kingsley) assembles a curious team to catch the fugitive — ex-Marine assassin Press Lennox (Michael Madsen), anthropologist Stephen Arden (Alfred Molina), molecular biologist Laura Baker (Marg Helgenberger) and psychic empath Dan Smithson (Forest Whitaker) — telling them they're up against a rapidly maturing hybrid of alien and human DNA. Sil, meanwhile, has been transformed into a lethal knockout (Natasha Henstridge) driven to mate and perpetuate her species, with gory consequences for her unwary paramours. She eventually mutates once more, becoming a scaly creature straight from the imagination of H.R. Giger (who designed ALIEN's memorably phallic monsters) and bringing the film's foregrounding of a traditional horror movie subtext — female sexuality demonized by the male imagination — to a delirious head. Director Roger Donaldson gives the film pace and style, but the fundamentally sleazy material defeats every attempt to dress it up. Dennis Feldman's script fritters various creepy possibilities on a story driven by the need for Henstridge to bare her breasts; its wittiest conceit is that such a luscious creature would have any trouble at all finding a stud to father future alien generations, and the ludicrous obstacles thrown in her path provide the film's most amusing moments. Surprisingly, given the generally reliable cast of character actors, the film's best performance is delivered by Williams (later of TV's Dawson's Creek). She gives the prepubescent Sil an eerie edge, conveying the curiosity and terror of a stranger in a strange land without a word of dialogue. (Graphic violence, extensive nudity, sexual situations, adult situations, profanity.)

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  • Released: 1995
  • Rating: R
  • Review: ALIEN meets BASIC INSTINCT in this textbook illustration of what happens when millions of dollars' worth of technical expertise is brought to bear on a cheap, exploitative script. In a top-secret Utah laboratory, scientists prepare to murder a young girl,… (more)

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