I have never been a fan of horror movies or remakes because they are usually not good. But when done right, they can be special movies. Invasion of the Body Snatchers happens to be both a remake and a horror movie, so I had my doubts. Luckily, this is a really good movie. This film is based off the 1956 film of the same name, and I hear it is a good movie. So when a remake at least equals the quality of the original, then that means you did something right. Most people seem to agree that this movie equals the same horror tone as the original, but it passes it in terms of conception. There are many themes this movie expanded on. Such themes include paranoia, the idea of dehumanization whether it’s mentally or quite literally in the case of this movie. You could also talk about the idea of the lack of trust of people in an increasing complicated world. The original had roots in communism as the 1950’s were known for paranoia as the Cold War escalated. You could easily see the transfer of those ideas in this film. Paranoia is rampant as these invisible alien creatures take over human bodies and minds. These ideas really created the tension and horror that the movie needed.
This science-fiction remake is sent in the city of San Francisco, California. One day, Elizabeth Driscoll (Brooke Adams) complains to her good friend Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland) that her husband has been acting very strange. Bennell originally dismisses the thought as marital problems. But when more people start complaining, he becomes increasingly concerned. When writer Jack Bellicec (Jeff Goldblum) and his wife Nancy (Veronica Cartwright) uncover a mutated corpse, Bennell realizes that the world has been taken over by an unseen force. Now it’s up to him to beat the clock before the whole city turns into mutants.
The film does have a good cast, and they all turned in solid performances. Donald Sutherland is a great actor, and he showed himself some range here. Brooke Adams made a name for herself earlier in 1978 with Days of Heaven, and she turns in another good performance. Jeff Goldblum is an amazing actor as you will see in future movies, but he is really good in one of his earlier roles in this film. One of the best performances in the film comes from the amazing Leonard Nimoy. You might know him from his iconic role as Spock in the original Star Trek television series. He is usually typecast as similar characters in his movies, but this role as Dr. David Kibner gives him something fresh, something different. He plays more of a villainous character, and it’s a welcome sight.
The production design adds to the horror elements. The look of the movie is creepy and sometimes downright scary. The pods where humans are transformed are wonderfully scary. When the movie shows how these humans are transformed is the ultimate prize when it comes to being scared. Any fan of horror would appreciate this.
Overall, I really enjoyed the 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers much to my surprise and delight. It succeeds in giving me the creeps, but in such intelligent ways. It’s a thematic film touching on concepts of paranoia-which was a very popular concept considering what was going on in the world at the time. So remember if you see any pods nearby, well lets hope it is not an invisible alien making you its next prey. After all, I became a little paranoid for a few days after I saw the movie.
My Grade: B+