Species | Chicago Reader

Species

Extraterrestrials contrive to persuade a beady-eyed American scientist (Ben Kingsley) to combine their own and human DNA to create a new being. This yields a dangerous female who grows from girl to woman in a matter of hours and then proceeds to Los Angeles, looking for a male to mate with. The funny thing about this scary SF thriller directed by Roger Donaldson from a screenplay by coproducer Dennis Feldman is that in spite of all its unexplained and semiridiculous plot premises it works surprisingly well as a genre exercise, perhaps because, like Alien, it knows how to exploit misogynist biological and sexual anxieties for all they're worth. (It's small wonder that the climactic chase takes place inside a sewer.) The cast is a lot of fun to watch, too; Kingsley seems almost as creepy as the lady monster (played by Michelle Williams as a girl and by Natasha Henstridge as a vamp), and the members of his crack monster-elimination team are played by Michael Madsen, Alfred Molina, Forest Whitaker, and Marg Helgenberger.

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