Species: The Awakening

The straight to Dvd market has proven to be a lucrative venture for many companies, especially productions focused on the horror genre, or Sci-Fi channel fare. However, like with any gold rush everyone starts trying their hand at the game and just tossing out anything and everything overcrowding the market with crap and knock offs. Actually owning the rights to a recognizable name is therefore a key component to Dvd sales success, yet consumers are finding out early that films releasing their third sequel on to Dvd are probably inferior products.  Then you have reviewers such as myself that enjoy the hunt, sifting through all of the junk to find a gem, and in this case renting: Species: The Awakening.

Species 4: The Awakening was directed by Nick Lyon and indeed was one of those straight to Dvd movies that first premiered on the Sic-Fi channel. A mixture of horror and science fiction elements this movie follows a young woman who discovers she has alien DNA within her and goes to Mexico to find the scientist that may be able to save her from becoming a killer. Which the basic premise for the series is scientists infusing human and alien DNA to make what always turns out to be sexy people who want to have sex and then kill. The alien this time is played by actress Helena Mattsson, with Natasha Henstridge having been the blonde to push the first film into the spotlight.

The acting in the movie is the standard for cable television, which in thinking back I never liked the original Species and even though it also had Ben Kingsley, Forest Whitaker, and Michael Madison in it I wouldn’t say the roles made them darlings of the Academy or anything. So, there isn’t any point in focusing on the actors performances too much, they aren’t stand out and they aren’t anything you wouldn’t expect.

The first half of the film is rather boring overall, with the plot being a basic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde sort of scenario with a sexy young lady not realizing she is part murderous alien. When the alien side takes over for some reason it has a different personality and is a different character than the woman normally, shooting out its alien tongue and stabbing it into people in various shots of CGI aided gore. The double persona thing was logically an unsound way of approaching the subject matter and did not make sense to me; why would her alien side be automatically evil and why didn’t she remember anything that happened while in that form? I’m not thinking the other films were like that; though I admit I’ve never seen part 3.

After the first half we get, on the unrated Dvd, the image of the fully nude blonde sliding out of a cocoon like thing covered in slime: this is where things pick up. The slimy nude scene is the one that makes it feel like a part of the Species series and also signals the start of more interesting action coming, via sex and fighting.

The effects are presented well enough,  the style and grade work better for this than it did for the Pumpkinhead series which also went to Sci-fi and Dvd.  The aliens throughout the movie seem to move way too slow though, and do a lot of standing and posing. Later for the grand finale there is an alien against alien showdown that is done a bit better than the previous scenes, and the ending for the most part is solid good stuff.

Species: The Awakening is not an awakening in the series as in bringing back the Species concept  in a full force way of creative awesomeness. However, it probably makes for a decent enough flick to catch on  Sci-fi while flipping channels. I do suggest the unrated Dvd version for viewing if you are an actual Species fan, not just because there are boobs, but because, well, the nudity in that cocoon scene is of particular importance for the vibe.

2 thoughts on “Species: The Awakening”

  1. From what I gather working for the horror site that I do, most people who hated part three thought part 4 was better…though not a grand movie by any means…however, if one goes into it with an acceptance of cable movie/straight to Dvd vibe..then all the better I guess.

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