Letter grade: F
There are some films that make it difficult to be a reviewer. While many people think that the movie critic profession sounds like a great one to have, there are times where certain films make you say, “Why am I watching this?” and “How can I write a review of this?” Well, “Scavengers” – releasing to DVD on Sept. 3 – is one of those films.
Shot on a very low budget, “Scavengers” plays like it was meant to be made in the early 90s. But even some science fiction shows from that era still hold up today (“Babylon 5” for example). The visuals here look like they belong on a Sega CD game, and even some of the set material looks way out-of-date (i.e. gigantic, boxy computer screens). The opening scene indicates that this film wants to be some big space battle epic. But the low budget kind of holds that idea back.
A crew of scavengers, aboard the spaceship Revelator, discovers an alien artifact with an unimaginable power that can knock the whole universe off balance. Soon, they are pursued by a group of mercenary killers, who know of the artifact’s power. The Revelator crew must protect the artifact and defend themselves from these killers.
It’s almost impossible to go into full detail of the plot, because there isn’t really any moment where the viewer is engaged in the film. It’s hard to follow, due to violent scenes that come out of nowhere; characters with about as much emotional range as a bundle of sticks; and moments where you just shake your head in disbelief.
One character explodes, and his blood covers the room and the other people in it. Rather than washing themselves off right away – after their emotionally stilted scene of shock, of course – they keep the blood on them long after that scene is over. There’s a montage of characters dying, but we don’t really know who they are, and we don’t really know if the ship is starting to take over or something else is beginning to happen. Two characters fall in love, and while the female is taking a shower, the male comes up and the two start making out through the glass. They then tell each other that, “Love in space sucks.” Yeah, well, so does this movie.
And the one thing that is most irritating of all is that none of these people know how to properly handle a gun. One person cleans his pistol, blows in it, and then the gun goes off. Another is holding a villain at gunpoint, interrogating him, and then the gun goes off. It makes you wonder if Vincent Vega was their safety instructor.
The DVD cover, as well as the main menu, make “Scavengers” look like it should have been a video game or an animated film. Not that either of those options would have helped the rest of the story, but there is the possibility that one of those methods could have displayed passable visuals. As it is, “Scavengers” is a dull, sluggish, and depressing science fiction film that leaves open the possibility of a sequel. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.