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Why You Should Watch 'Species: The Awakening'

Species: The Awakening Featured Image

A Brief on 'Species: The Awakening'

Species: The Awakening is the fourth film in the Species franchise and, until now, is the last film in the franchise. Directed by Nick Lyon (Grendel, Zombie Apocalypse), Species: The Awakening (lets just call it Species 4 for the duration of this article) - is as far removed from the other three films as it gets. Still going with the sci-fi/horror schtick which answers "what if the Xenomorphs from Aliens were Sexy?", Species 4 focuses on the Alien/Human hybrid known as Miranda (played by Helena Mattson) who has been brainwashed by her "uncle" to believe she's a fully fledged human woman who works as a College Professor at a nearby university.

However, when Miranda passes out and is taken to a local hospital for observation, she transforms into alien form, strips naked and kills most of the hospital staff in the E.R. When her "uncle", Tom (played by Tom Cross), arrives at the hospital the next morning he discovers the dead bodies, locates Miranda, injects her with human hormones and drives her to Mexico. As it turns out, Tom and his friend, Forbes McGuire (played by Dominic Keating), conducted an experiment back in their college days on human and alien DNA which resulted in the creation of Miranda which necessitated the need for a fake backstory if Miranda were to successfully integrate into human society.

Without spoiling too much, it turns out that Miranda is dying and needs stem cells to stabilise her condition. While Forbes and Tom are able to stabilise her DNA so she won't die, Miranda's alien-half begins to take over, resulting in a lot of sex and a lot of death. Ultimately, the film ends with a confrontation between Miranda and Azura (played by Marlene Favela), another human-alien hybrid who serves as the assistant and lover of Forbes. The movie does end the franchise, however, there's always that question of "if there's DNA left over" then there's always a chance for another Species movie.

The Upside of 'Species: The Awakening'

  • The producers return to the original designs of H.R. Giger which were present in Species 1 and 2 but absent in #3. This means the design of the alien suits look less like a Rastafarian caricature and more like a new breed of hybrids.

  • This is also mentioned in the downsides of the film but because there is very little connectivity going on to the other films, fans can easily discount it and look at Species: The Awakening as more of a side-story than main storyline in the overall franchise.

  • Due to the majority of the film being set in a corrupt and decadent part of Mexico, there's a feeling of neo-noir going on as the storyline progresses. This adds to the sexiness of the story.

  • The confrontation between Miranda and Azura is probably one of the best battles since Species 2.

  • The delivery on the sex scene between Miranda and Forbes is believable and adds to the idea of the Species movies being the visual science-fiction representation of the succubus myth.

  • During close-ups the aliens feel a bit like the energy vampires in Mick Garris' Sleepwalkers, both in the structure of their faces, and how they move.

  • It didn't feel like a Made-for-TV movie like its predecessor.

The Downside of 'Species: The Awakening'

  • I alluded to this above but there is very little interconnectivity to the first three Species films going on.

  • While Helena Mattson plays a highly alluring alien-human hybrid, it is Marlene Favela's portrayal of Azura which is more provocative, highly sexual and overshadows the character of Miranda as a whole.

  • Species: The Awakening centers around an experiment and the trope of a mad scientist, much like Species 3 did.

  • The storyline is a little bit weaker than its predecessor Species 3.

  • Throughout the film we are told that Tom and Forbes were friends during college that experimented with the alien-human hybrid DNA. It seemed like an obvious continuation of the series would've been to make the two scientist characters, Dean and Hastings (who were in the third movie), when they were older. Rather than create the two new characters; Tom and Forbes, who we're left with.

Why You Should Watch 'Species: The Awakening'

Is Species: The Awakening the best film in the series? No. However, the directorial interpretation of Ben Ripley's script resulted in an intoxicating neo-noir meets violent sexual awakening. One that, in effect, surpasses the third Species film and gives rise to an incredible climax ('scuse the pun) of many themes and tropes at play.

While Miranda felt less intoxicating than her hybrid-rival, Azura, it elevated the sense of danger throughout the second half. I'm not sure if this was purposeful but Marlene Favela deserves belated-praise for her performance. Then there's the matter of Natasha Henstridge's absence which gave this movie the ability to breathe on its own and become a beast unto itself. Knowing it was the last movie in the franchise, it could've gone anywhere, but it was nice to see a finality in its close.


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