‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ Revisited

Forgotten DVDs

         
 

19 October 2012| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

I keep seeing these people, all recognizing each other. Something is passing between them all, some secret. It’s a conspiracy, I know it.” – Brooke Adams 

Oozing with dread, a great Halloween scarefest. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) is riveting for any time of year, and artistically, it has a unique vision of complete world takeover. Donald Sutherland and Brooke Adams are San Francisco Health Inspectors that catch on that pod people from another planet are replicating and replacing human beings. They get you in your sleep!

The movie is two hours of breathless paranoia that tugs at our suspicions from the get-go because the notice of odd, aberrant behavior in random people that we glimpse. By the time bureaucratic agencies decline in favor of more organized replacement agencies the tension gets white knuckle.

Director Philip Kaufman takes the city of San Francisco and turns it into a sealed vortex with no way out. It gets freaky when the aliens scream to alert their own kind! The matter-of-fact approach is what is so spine-tingling.

Cinematographer Michael Chapman did some of the best cinematography work ever done in a horror film outside of “The Shining.” You see a lot of venomous colors like greens and ultraviolet purples in the film, but you also get that deliberately blurry and darkness feel that you see in the best noirs. Kaufman is the top genius here, going on to direct “The Right Stuff” (1983) and “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” (1988). Veronica Cartwright, Jeff Goldblum, Art Hindle and Leonard Nimoy co-star.

Four times. “Body Snatchers” has been made into four incarnations with each film approaching the story from a fresh angle, with particularly different characters and geographical settings. This 1978 version remains the best. The 2007 release “The Invasion” (featuring a deplorable ending!) with Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, was the only failure in the group. Special note: the 1994 version by director Abel Ferrara is very underrated.

117 Minutes. Rated PG.

Film Cousins: “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1956); “Dawn of the Dead” (1979); “Body Snatchers” (1994); “The Invasion” (2007).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.

 

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