Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers Movie Review

Invasion of the Body Snatchers Review

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a 1978 science fiction horror film directed by Philip Kaufman and starring Donald Sutherland, Leonard Nimoy and Jeff Goldblum. It is a remake of the 1956 movie of the same name and it is one of the most famous and finest remakes of all time.

This movie is absolutely phenomenal for one major reason – it does everything a remake should do. It has the same story but it changes enough from its predecessor that it can stand on its own while in the process updating the visual effects and creating a better atmosphere. The story is about an alien invasion in which aliens replace humans by duplicating them as perfect copies. The plot is very well crafted with definite first, second and third act in which the first act serves as a wonderfully developed build-up and the third act has finale which is one of the most brave and memorable for the genre. And I absolutely loved how it was not that similar to the original and how it incorporated some parts from the original while also changing the location a bit thus managing to be an homage rather than a total rip-off.

There are a couple of deficiencies that diminish the impact of the film a bit. First is the character development which is quite weak. However, that is not expected for this genre so it is not a major problem. But what is a big problem and what should have been fixed is of course the acting. All of the performances are very bland, weak and even at times horrendous. The three men, who are all going to have great careers, are not that good themselves with the exception of Leonard Nimoy who is quite good. But the women are simply awful because their screams fail to convey fear etc. All of the actresses give such bland performances that it really gets troublesome and frustrating. It is the only big problem in the film.

The film’s plot incorporates themes that make this movie smarter than the original. The theme of paranoia is present as well as mass hysteria. The script is very well written and crafted. And although the dialogue could have been better, everything else is technically brilliant and simply astonishing. The directing is very good as is the editing. But the make-up is extremely good as are the visual effects. The imagery is noticeable and very distinct. That is why it trumps the original the most because the effects are practical and so wonderfully executed that they contribute to the eerie atmosphere and realism of the film perfectly. Yes, the atmosphere here is stunning because the film uses real suspense and build-up instead of obvious jump scares and they are all executed in a great way making you feel ill at ease and making the film succeed as both a great science fiction work as well as the horror one.

But the sound is terrific and without a doubt the finest part of the film and the biggest contributor to that anxious and scary feel because it is very suspenseful, very frightening, effective and extremely memorable and authentic. It helped create this menacing atmosphere that captures your mind and never lets go. Also, the finale is undoubtedly fantastic achieving the realism and an unexpected bravery to go into that territory while also having a genuine, unexpected and wonderfully executed twist that is very memorable and striking.

With terrific make-up and practical effects, wonderful imagery and menacing atmosphere that is created mostly thanks to absolutely fantastic sound effects, Invasion of the Body Snatchers has bland characters and the acting is very problematic and at times quite bad, but it is a remake that does everything a remake should do – it has the same plot but is never repetitive because it changes many things while staying true to the original and in the process incorporating more themes and updating the effects and creating a better atmosphere thus managing to be better than the original and inarguably to be one of the finest remakes of all time.

My Rating – 4,5

Posted in 1970s, 1978, FILM DECADES, Horror, MOVIE REVIEWS, Science Fiction and tagged , , , , , .

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