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Species Review (1995)

My History with the Film:
I was twelve years old when Species came out and it quickly spread across the school that this was the movie for all young boys to see. It was full of gore, horror, and lots of nudity.

In the one sleepover I ever attended, we rented Species along with Thunder in Paradise and Jason Goes to Hell. I’m pretty sure this movie jumpstarted my puberty by a year or so.

With that being said, the only thing I can recall about Species was the iconic tongue through the back of the head scene. I’m not sure if I’ve see Species since that initial viewing in 1995/1996 until this past March when I decided to give it another go.

What The Film Is About (Non-Spoiler):
Scientists, empaths, and mercenaries attempt to track down an alien before it can mate.

What I Liked About It:

-This cast is amazing: Natasha Henstridge (Sil), Michelle Williams (Young Sil), Michael Madsen (Preston), Alfred Molina (Dr. Arden), Ben Kingsley (Fitch), Forest Whitaker (Dan), Marg Helgenberger (Dr. Baker). This is some heavy talent for a large budget B sci-fi movie.

-The special effects are very well made and the design of everything looks amazing. It’s the type of film that reminds you of Alien in how well put together everything is. It should be no surprise that iconic designer HR Giger worked on this film as well.

-I was impressed with the early CGI. It’s not overly used and with exception of some green screen background shots its actually quite effective.

-It’s worth mentioning Natasha Henstridge separately from the rest of the cast. This was her theatrical debut and she really nails it. She conveys innocence so well, but is also breath taking beautiful. They film her awkwardness so well, yet she is confident when needs to be. There is so much depth in her performance that I think it gets lost when people recall the film because of how much nudity is involved.

What I Didn’t Like About It:
-The ending drags and the film really could have been edited a bit tighter. I found myself fast forwarding through some of the final minutes leading up to the big face-off.

-Michael Madsen is the type of actor I like in very small doses. I feel like he got a little too much screen time in this film.

-The score is completely unmemorable which is a shame since the film featured such great sound design.

Additional Notes:

-Frank Welker (Famous voice actor, probably best known for being Scooby Doo) did all of Sil’s (Natasha Henstridge) alien sounds.

-H.R. Giger (famous designer of the Alien franchise) worked on the train set of Species. The studio ended up cutting the nightmare scene, so Giger used $100,000 of his own dollars to make sure it was done.

-Sil actually stands for S1L, the lab where DNA is grown.

-A second, longer cut was made with a different action ending scene.

Rating:
I’ve wanted to revisit Species for a few years now, but I felt like it probably didn’t age well. The special effects hold up well, as does a few of the performances, but overall the movie is quite “meh” to me. I’m glad I can check it off my “Movies to Revisit” checklist, but I will not be watching Species probably ever again.

Species is very much a 90’s thriller style movie. It feels like a movie you’d watch on Cinemax late at night, but also features a great cast and some fantastic special effects. I think if you go in knowing that this is a big budget “b movie” you’ll probably have a good time. I’d rate Species at 2 out of five and say it’s a low priority rental.

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