Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) Review
Written by: jamhorner
This is probably one of the most disturbing PG rated horror movies that I have ever seen, and one of the best remakes of an old classic. This movie is basically about the world being taken over by alien pods that replicate people, and then their clones become emotionless drones. A small group of survivors now must band together and stop them before they too become infected. There is one major factor that makes this movie so good and that’s the way that it was written; in my opinion, remakes now a days don’t have this kind of writing. This movie had a great cast of characters with excellent performances and a great theme that goes with the story. But, I cannot stress the fact that it is the best remake of its kind.
The acting in this movie was very well done and performed by top notch actors and actresses. This movie had two great performances by Brooke Adams, who plays Elizabeth, and Veronica Carthwright, who plays Nancy. They both did outstanding job acting extremely paranoid and overall scared, which I think heightens the emotional intensity of this film; something that the clones in the film obviously don’t have. There are outstanding performances by Donald Sutherland, who plays Matthew, and Jeff Goldblum, who plays Jack, whose somber yet paranoid performances encourage the overall theme of the movie. There is a good supporting cast by Leonard Nimoy, who plays Dr. David Kibner, and Art Hindle, who plays Dr. Geoffrey. There performances give this movie that extra bone chilling kick that makes this film so good. It’s just an overall great performance by all the actors and actresses.
As I said before, this movie is one of the best remakes ever, mainly because of the well-crafted writing and the plot structure that gives respects to the original movie. Because of the writing, there were a lot of disturbing undertones and scenes that the original movie could not accomplish, because of it’s time, and those scenes are the “larval” stages of the clones, the slow build up of how the clones eventually take over everybody and just the way that the pods take over people. It’s hard to explain, but the clones aren’t just people running around taking over people, they are well organized, intelligent, systematic and horrifyingly emotionless. There screams haven’t change that much, but in this reworking they are more of a horrible air raid siren. When you watch it, you’ll notice that the clones and the progression of the alien take over is vastly different from the original and has a flavor to it that makes this movie raw, so to speak.
Like the first movie, the central theme of this film is paranoia; however there is not allegory for real live events that would have caused this theme to work. However, what this movie does accomplish that the original one did not do is provide metaphors for what the world is experiencing. Case in point, there is a scene in which Sutherland is driving down a city block and we see a POV shot with a cracked window; this shows how the world we see is about to be shattered by the newly arrived guests. There are plenty of paranoia scenes, mostly dealing with Elizabeth and Mathew, but the one sequence that shows Mathew’s paranoia is when he is calling all the emergency agencies and they all refuse him while he is vision is blurred with paranoia. There is plenty of third-characters that heighten this theme even more than the main characters and secondary characters. A good example is when an old man jumps on Sutherland’s car and screams about how “they” are taking over the world. This old man is played by none other than Kevin McCarthy from the original movie.
Overall, this movie is one of the best remakes ever; I really cannot stress that enough. This remake had things that remakes now a days don’t have and that’s a well crafted plot, great performances and a hard hitting central theme. This movie’s plot structure pays tribute and respects to the original 50s classic. This is one of those few cases were the remakes is equal are better to its predecessor. I would strongly recommend this movie to any horror fan as well as any beginning horror fanatic. Those who are a fan of the original and cult classics would enjoy this too; ultimately I think any kind of horror fan should see this movie because it is very memorable. As for me, this is a movie that I can watch again and again because it’s just very well made.