Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)


Director:  Philip Kaufman

Starring: Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Veronica Cartwright, Jeff Goldblum, Leonard Nimoy

In a disorienting start we end up with seeing melting ice joined with dramatic, foreboding orchestral music. Then we see the melting ice growing, tendrils stretching out, eventually making pods, then blooming into flowers.

The early part of the film is filled with strange looks and strange behaviour that drives suspicion. Strange, knowing looks between people who seemingly don’t know each other.

Donald Sutherland is Mr Matthew Bennell, a Department of Public Health worker who is a bit of a jobsworth, a hard worker whose job is his life.

He works alongside Elisabeth, played by Brooke Adams. She starts to notice things not quite right with her boyfriend and that leads her to notice others behaving strangely too. All the people look the same but are just not behaving the same as normal, all strangely emotionless and having meetings with seeming strangers but to what end?

The film is quite slow paced, the dialogue is clunky and awkward but the story is compelling. It has the feel of a B-movie populated by some really quite famous actors so maybe that’s what they were after. The music is strange and disturbing whenever the invaders are involved, heightening the feeling of weirdness. 

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Stretching tendrils of the alien organism

As more is revealed we see how far this invasion has gone in such a small time. It almost has the feeling of a conspiracy, everyone else is already taken over and is blocking every effort they make to try to escape or warn others. With a great twist at the end, you are left guessing until the last moment as to their fate.

The film hasn’t aged terribly well although the effects are pretty good for a film of it’s time.

Rating:     

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