Species: The Awakening (Review)
Species: The Awakening
aka Species 4
Written by Ben Ripley
Based on characters created by Dennis Feldman
Directed by Nick Lyon
The Species franchise transitioned from femme fueled Freudian nightmare to direct to video science fiction dreck so quickly that by installment number four materialized – Species: The Awakening – I had long ago put it on my lower priorities list. There, Species 4 sat, until one day I restumbled across it and decided to try it out. After all, I will get an answer to what 1902 is! (That’s the number that the camera panned to ominously at the conclusion of Species III, thus it must mean something!)
Species: The Awakening continues the premise of the prior installment in stating that there are already members of the alien Species living amongst us in hiding. While in Species 3 they were all surviving offspring of Eve or the astronaut guy from Species 2, here they were created in a lab in Mexico that does the same research that created the original alien creature in the first film. Except now in a much more safe form, in that they only kill a lot of people instead of every person.
Our lead Miranda Hollander (Helena Mattsson) is one just creation of this group, a young woman who doesn’t even know she’s the product of alien DNA technology, living a quiet life as a blooming academic with a bright future ahead of her. She’s raised by her uncle Tom (Ben Cross), who unbeknownst to her but beknownst to us, helped create her before abandoning the research because of moral quandaries. But once she gets sick and begins reverting back to Species form and goes on a killing spree, he now needs to reconnect with his former partner in order to save her life.
All that means is we got some new moral quandaries on our hands. The way to save Miranda is via DNA transfer from a living human (which will kill that person), something Miranda and Tom both object to. But as Miranda lays dying, Tom is compelled to kidnap a donor, and a cocooning session later, Miranda is back, except 10000% more horny.
Not that Miranda will be having much sex, most of her interactions is an action of seduction that she ends by violently slamming her tongue through the back of the guy’s head. Someone really liked that kill shot because it’s used in almost every kill. And we all know that the Species design – created by H.R. Giger – is a giant stack of sexual imagery itself, so it’s not that far off to recognize that the penile tongue stabbing through the victims’ bodies is some sexual politics that you could write a whole review about. Hey….
Miranda’s powers first manifest while on a date, a makeout session ends with a dead boyfriend. She’s found lying nude in a field, and upon awakening at the hospital proceeds to kill doctors and nurses by stabbing them one by one (including a neat scene of a female doctor fleeing yet still getting stabbed through the eye via the back of the head to the front!) The only thing that calms her down is when she’s injected by human hormones by Tom, something he’s been doing to her since she was a child to keep her in line.
Before all that, our introduction to Miranda has her discussing how the gods cursed mankind by introducing women. And her alien origin from a society so technologically advanced they might be perceived as magical, or at least godlike, become a curse on mankind.
Tom’s old partner Forbes Macguire (Dominic Keating) is playing God himself, funding his research by bringing back cloned pets to rich benefactors (the clones made with the alien technology, and the scene of the woman overjoyed to see her dog that spends the entire time growling at her was hilarious!) and creating alien sex slave women that he just discards when they reach their end of lifespan. Miranda’s problem is she has reached her end of lifespan, thus needs the DNA transfer and cocooning, getting a sexual reawakening and causing Tom to go on a quest to try to save her and make her back to normal.
We all know that’s not going to happen, especially with Forbes running around, and his latest sex slave Azura (Marlene Favela) running around being lethal on her own. She’s first introduced wearing a nun outfit and attacking Tom. Later, Azura tries to kill Tom in a church, he uses a Bible to block her stabbing claw and kills her by dropping a huge cross on her! And then…she’s resurrected. It’s almost impossible for this to have any more strange religious symbolism, and yet they don’t do anything with the religious aspect.
Miranda goes on a killing spree, tonging dudes to death in a club, at the motel, and getting it on with Forbes before giving him the old tongue penis death sentence after she’s pregnant. With a demon baby! The alien part of Miranda is on overdrive, but the human version is still there, still awake enough to beg Tom to kill her. Miranda doesn’t want the blossoming gift of womanhood, of sexual awakening, of menstruation, or of whatever feminine thing creeped out the writer enough that it got incorporated in the film.
Species: The Awakening suffers because it’s retread both on its own story and on other films so much that it becomes boring. Borrowing for weaker versions of iconic scenes is something Species: The Awakening is addicted to. We get another instance of The Matrix ruining a film when we get bullet time for spikes shot by Miranda. Miranda borrows from The Terminator by demanding a sexy dress from a woman in a club. For all of this xerox machine fun, the film never elevates itself to be memorable. So we’re stuck with mediocre, and that’s just not good enough, not then, and not now.
Rated 5/10 (lock picking, this movie is a bunch of bull!, cell division porn, cloned evil doggie, Baby Mutant Space Jesus )
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