Species IV: The Awakening (2007)
Species IV: The Awakening (2007)

Genre: Sci-Fi Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 43 min.

Release Date: October 2nd, 2007 MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Director: Nick Lyon Actors: Helena Mattsson, Ben Cross, Dominic Keating, Marlene Favela, Meagen Fay, Roger Cudney, Marco Bacuzzi




t Parker University, fossil expert Uncle Tom Hollander (Ben Cross) experiments with biosynthesis, hoping to impress his niece, biochemistry professor Miranda (Helena Mattsson). She’s just received another offer to teach at Oxford, but she doesn’t want to leave Tom behind; after all, they’re the only family either one has. She departs that evening for a date, but doesn’t return the following morning, alarming Tom. She soon turns up in the park, naked and unconscious and covered in a strange rash; even when she awakens, she has limited memory about the night before.

At the hospital, an x-ray provokes a sudden mutation, transforming Miranda into a blackish alien monstrosity, whose snakelike tongue lashes dozens of feet from her mouth to stab doctors to death, as if a whip tipped with teeth. Tom comes to her rescue, using a formula in a syringe (human hormones) to diminish Miranda’s condition, before whisking her away to Mexico, where the authorities won’t be able to track her path of carnage as easily, and where a crazy but brilliant doctor named Forbes Maguire (Dominic Keating) resides – the only one who might be able to help her. As it turns out, Miranda isn’t a normal human; she was created in a lab, partly using alien DNA. “What exactly is wrong with me?”

The fourth entry in the “Species” series, this is the only one that is a standalone story, finally dispensing with returning cast members or people or locations that connect it to the previous chapters. Of course, it follows a similar plot, involving a human/alien hybrid whose innate desire to breed can’t be stopped, complete with the sex and violence and nudity that have been hallmarks of this franchise. Sadly, however, the special effects are largely CG-based, which are far from convincing, and the cinematography is so dark and color-desaturated that this project screams of being a straight-to-video endeavor. Even the editing is noticeably deficient.

“I’ve worked out most of the kinks.” Another major problem is the lack of cohesive ideas; the continuing alterations and added details to the established extraterrestrial species result in something that barely resembles the 1995 film that started it all. An evil alien nun (Marlene Favela), a mad scientist who clones alien facsimiles and alien sex objects, a morally upright alien creature paired with religious symbolism, and a man forced to harvest humans are just the beginning of the inanity (a lot of Frankenstein-like ideas pop up). The movie keeps getting sillier, more careless with its plotting, more pointless with its killing spree, and sloppier in its execution, until it culminates in a staggeringly absurd, drawn-out, unexciting showdown.

– Mike Massie

  • 1/10