Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Film Review


Director: Philip Kaufman            

Screenplay: W.D. Richter (based on the novel by Jack Finney)

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

Certificate: 15   

Running Time: 115 mins            

Format: Blu-Ray

Reviewed by Guy Adams

When Jack Finney sold the serial rights of his original novel to Collier’s Weekly back in the 1950’s he could never have imagined the cinematic success it would go on to create.

The conceit of the ‘quiet invasion’ where the aliens are among us, taking over our friends and family, is one that has persisted throughout science fiction. Some would argue it was a rich metaphor for the average American’s fear communism at the time of its original publication, others would simply say it’s a brilliantly creepy idea.

There have been four movie adaptations: the original, 1956, Don Siegel picture that sticks closely to the book and offers small town eeriness; a 1993 version by Abel Ferrara, which was certainly better than this reviewer expected and the recent (2007) adaptation featuring Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and no charm whatsoever. The best of the bunch, though, will always be this, Philip Kaufman’s take on the story.

Kaufman offers genuine eeriness. Shadows seen through frosted-glass, rubbish trucks that cruise around in the night collecting the remains of the dead, strangers that stare, cold-eyed at you from the sidewalk, all trace of humanity gone.

It also contains three, truly iconic cinematic moments that, in an attempt at secrecy for the one person reading the who has never seen the movie I will simply label ‘Garden Pod’ ‘Dog’ and ‘Scream’.

Arrow’s Blu-Ray presentation is excellent, the picture is as perfect as it ever will be and you have the option of both the original stereo or a 5.1 surround mix on the audio.

Extras include a commentary by Kaufman plus featurettes that cover everything from interviews with the movie’s stars to the sound design. Some of these come from the American 2007 release of the film from MGM but Arrow have added a few exclusives too. A comprehensive package of a seminal sci-fi/horror.