The people of San Francisco are being duplicated by an alien organism and replaced while they sleep with an emotionless copy. A handful of citizens who realise the truth try to escape the invasion.
Opening with a distant planet and it’s life-form’s journey to earth with its spore spouting (thanks to some well executed) effects, it’s a quality production. Like it’s 1956 predecessor what’s interesting is the refreshing angle how a scifi invasion flick can be handled without spaceships and green men. As well as the number of subtexts to discover there’s also a San Francisco undertone of a city changing. Here so convincingly true to life are the expected reactions including terror, humour and wit from the characters. It’s relevant covering inherent fears of paranoia which is probably a testament to why the 1978 version is so well regarded.
A lot of attention has gone into the background activities on display as the characters discover something is not quite right, there is great self aware camera work and realistic settings, natural lighting and so on, it’s hard not to like director Philip Kaufman’s finely constructed science fiction. Overall, subtle in places, it’s intense in others with chases and effective hard hitting scenes featuring ghastly half formed pod people, including a part man part dog alien. The special effects holdup and are still creepy.
Complete with a cameo for Kevin McCarthy of the original this is both Donald Sutherland and Brooke Adams (complete with hairy armpits) arguably finest performances, with the likes of energetic Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright and Leonard Nimoy in their respective supporting roles.
Thanks to a convincing script from W.D. Richter, Kaufman’s fine direction coupled with Jack Finney’s solid novel source material and the natural delivery of the actors, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is still a credible, mature and tour de force of mistrust and conspiracy.
A must see for serious science fiction fans.