INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS(1978)

invasion-of-the-body-snatchers-3Imagine yourself living with someone you love and know. One day suddenly he changes beyond recognition. You try to decipher him but you cannot. You try talking to your next best friend about it and he thinks you need psychiatric help. Try to imagine the frustration, the anxiety and the suffocation and you may get an idea about how “Invasion Of The Body Snatchers” works. A remake of one of 1950’s most exasperating sci-fi thrillers of the same name, this is a film par excellence. A film which not only gives you edge of the seat thrills from start to finish but also makes you think about the story and the characters long after it has ceased.

In San Francisco, a health department employee, Matthew (Donald Sutherland) is contacted by his friend and colleague Elizabeth (Brooke Adams) who has a strangeinvasion-1 story to tell. She feels that her boyfriend has changed overnight. Matthew thinks that she is having a bad time with her boyfriend and to console her and guide her in the right direction, he takes her to see a psychiatrist. However things quickly start getting bad, as Matthew himself experiences things that lead him to believe that the city might just be in danger of being over taken by an alien organism that creates clones of the humans when they are asleep and then replace them with the real people. The question however remains, where do they dispose of the real beings? The answer to that question is revealed in the climax of the film.

02The story unfolds quickly. The situation gets out of control quicker than the characters imagine and they are not prepared for it. Thus they react and behave in a manner which scares us out of our wits. The aliens and the beings they are transforming grow in number so quickly that the few remaining seem very unlikely to be able to stand a chance against them. However the humans do put up a fight. They try to gel in with the aliens by impersonating their emotion-devoid selves but that’s hardly any cover. I would like to draw the attention of the viewers to a scene where the people see a half man-half dog and scream out informing the transformed of their presence.

The protagonists run and run and run. There is no end to their running and as they are running away from the aliens and their own sleep, many fall prey. We all know that men cannot go without maxresdefaultsleeping. The transformed beings know that too and they say it out loud. The fear comes from the fact that we know that the people are going to fall asleep sooner or later and when they do, the beings will take over. If the subject was not shocking enough, the film culminates in a heartbreaking finale which I will not disclose here. I leave that on you to see and experience.

Body-Snatchers-4-560x315The principal cast of the film works wonders. The horror and the tension of the film would not have been for real if the cast didn’t transpose that through their expressions and attitude. The scene in the message parlor, where one of the characters finds his double and the way he approaches the body in itself scares us to death. The scene where Matthew visits Elizabeth’s house after dropping her there himself, a while earlier and this time finds her in the brink of transformation, is alone worth the price of admission. The scene involving the half man-half dog is cringe worthy. What is great about this scene is the way in which it is approached. If the man and the dog were not a regular features in the film from the beginning, the scene would not have made the impact that it did.

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers is a classic. This is a film which I saw as a kid and still remembered enough to buy a collector’s edition DVD of, years later when I started earning. That’s the kind of impact it had on me in the first place. Superb performences, engrossing script, great thrills and a heartbreaking finale is what summarizes this film for me. If you enjoy, sci-fi horror, then this is one of the better films that you can watch from the 70’s scene. The original I have heard is even better. However this one is in no way inferior.

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