Invasion of the Body Snatchers
--Reviewed by Patrick
Plotline: Back from vacation, Dr. Bennell finds his small California town being affected by a strange malady. People are claiming that their family and friends are not their own, but imposters, who look and act like their relatives, but are different in some indescribable way. It seems the whole town is quickly being taken over by these "pod people" and it's up to the Doctor and his friends to try and find the source and stop it, while keeping from changing themselves.
Scariness factor: There are very few movies that stand up, through the years, and remain as chilling today as when they were first filmed. The Shining, The Haunting and, I'm happy to say, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is right in there. I remember, as a kid, this movie scared the crap outta me. I didn't get the whole subtext of the Communist "Red Menace". I just knew that the idea of knowing the monster was out there, but not knowing who it was, and it could be anyone (and everyone), was very scary indeed.
Originality: To be fair, three years previous, Invaders from Mars was released, which had a similar plotline of people's personality being overtaken by aliens. But, the cheese level was 20X higher and so far less creepy, the comparisons are pretty weak.
Complaints: I only have two complaints about the whole movie. One, a huge, gaping major plot hole near the end. You see, in the beginning of the movie, we learn that the "pod people" copy your memories while you're sleeping. Then, the brand new fully completed pod person disposes of the original. This is not only heavily implied, but supported by various scenes involving a man watching his "copy" grow. But, later in the film, a character falls asleep for a split second, only to wake up a pod person, without any mention of the "copy" that had to be growing in the vicinity, to take over. My second complaint is not with the movie, itself, but with the Hollywood establishment. When researching parts of the movie, I discovered that they are remaking 'Invasion..' for the THIRD time (for those that don't know, it was also remade in the 70's, very well I should add, starting Donald Sutherland). How desperate is Hollywood that they need to remake movies that have been remade once already!!!. It's very sad indeed.
High Points: The original ending (later added on to by the studio's to make it "happier") was incredibly nihilistic, especially for the time. It truly finished the movie with a chilling and oppressive tone. I won't reveal it, for those who haven't seen the movie. But, if you're watching it, the movie should end when the main character's voice echoes out, the rest is a studio addition.
Overall: Again, this is one of the classic movies out there, a required viewing for anyone's sci-fi or horror library. The 1978 version is equally worth watching, as while the original can be set in the era of the Red Scare, the remake holds more to the feelings of homogenization and desensitization of modern American culture. But, you don't need to look at any of this subtext to enjoy this truly chilling movie.
Labels: A movies