Reviews

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers

5

Don Siegel’s taut, bleak, noir-flavoured picture is arguably the science-fiction B-movie of the 1950s, an age when screens glowed with the atomic threat and undulated with scuttling, supersized bugs. Set in the itsy-bitsy burg of Santa Mira, Bodysnatchers’ otherwordly events are seen through the dinner-plate eyes of doctor Miles Benell (Kevin McCarthy), who returns home from a convention to find the town in the grip of “mass hysteria”. It seems that someone, sometime, somehow is replacing the good folk of Santa Mira with replicas. “There is no difference you can actually see,” explains one terrified woman. “There’s something missing… there’s no emotion, none.”

Since remade convincingly by Philip Kaufman (’79), adequately by Abel Ferrara (’93) and shoddily by Oliver Hirschbiegel ('07), Siegel’s intelligent suspenser overcomes lovably ludicrous effects – clones birthed by intergalactic seedpods in a fizz of soap-bubbles – to exert a choking, nightmarish hold. Bodysnatchers might be a movie of its time, squirming with anti-communist paranoia (“It’s a malignant disease spreading through the whole country!”), but its scares are for keeps: loss of personality, identity, self. All of this should have been examined in a Making Of doc, while a commentary might have debated the film’s troubled production, with Siegel forced to add a voiceover and optimistic bookends to appease the studio. Instead, this debut disc simply offers the exact same movie, colourised. Which is kind of ironic…

 

Film Details

  • PG
  • UK Theatrical Release Date: October 1st 2007