Stars: Ben Kinglsey, Michael Madsen, Forrest Whitaker, Alfred Molina, Marg Helgenberger, Natasha Henstridge. Written by Dennis Feldman. Directed by Roger Donaldson. Rated R for nudity, sex, violence, profanity.

A U.S. government-funded project called the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) began sending signals into the cosmos decades ago. In the movie "Species", a reply is finally received. The reply takes the form of two separate communications which earth scientists are able to interpret. The first describes a new clean-burning fuel source. The second contains a DNA sequence along with detailed information on how to combine it with human DNA.

Of course, the scientists out at Dugway, Utah don't hesitate to try out their gene splicing abilities with the new sequence. A successful fertilization results in a being that appears to be a human girl, but which matures at a phenomenal rate. When the being, code-named Sil, learns that she is targeted for termination, she escapes into the desert. Unacquainted with human morals, Sil kills whenever threatened and spends her time looking for a mate so that she can continue her life cycle.

Although it doesn't transcend the horror genre, "Species" works so well within the genre that audiences long jaded by one- liner monsters like Freddy Krueger will find reasons to scream again. But be forewarned, this film is not for kids.

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