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Species Review

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Scientists with no forward-planning faculties mix human and Alien DNA to create a beautiful but ever -so-slightly-homicidal blonde. Then she escapes. Someone has to be called in to track her down...

★★★★★

Take one part Invasion of the Body Snatchers, one part Alien, one part Basic Instinct, one part of the Michael Crichton back-catalogue, and mix together with liberal helpings of hokum. The result is Species, a very silly sci-fi horror movie which, if not aiming to be a glossy B-movie, certainly ends up that way with a quota of snigger-inducing lines, a cheesy Earth-invasion plot and gloriously dumb entertainment value.

Gorgeous ex-model Henstridge is the babe with alien-coded DNA who escapes from her mad scientist creator (Kingsley), looking for the perfect mate with whom to populate the world with her H.R. Giger-designed nasties. This, naturally, involves Miss Henstridge removing her top at frequent intervals to entice healthy LA "meat" to join her for some rumpy, before she finishes them off in gruesome style. Following in her blood-strewn wake is a select team of boffins, each with their particular expertise: Madsen is the muscle; a shrunken Alfred Molina is the Limey anthropologist; Marg Helgenberger is the microbiologist; and Forest Whitaker provides ESP talents which seem only to reflect the painfully obvious. All of them adopt the uniform expressiveness of plywood — a post-Schindler Kingsley is,

hopefully, just cleaning the valves.

The result is cranky, unconvincing and, at times, out-loud laughable. The effects budget was clearly reserved for the Aliens rip-off climax with its all-too-brief burst of Giger-illuminated weirdness, and there is none of the other-worldly gloom of Alien among the neon-lit arid streets of downtown LA. Donaldson is unable to brew up serious chills; Henstridge is too cute and her alien manifestation (popping out during fits of pique or orgasm) a bizarre cross between scuttling spider and hood ornament.

Yet stupidity doesn't necessarily deliver boredom. There is an appealing vibrancy to this potty monster flick, clambering out of video hell to haunt the popcorn halls. If you're up for a giggle, it's an absolute scream.

Despite the ridiculous premise and casting this is still a pacey little sci-thriller.