Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

I rarely notice a film's sound unless it's very, very bad (30th anniversary edition of Night of the Living Dead, I am looking at you), but the 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers is an exception. The discordant, unsettling use of sound - both environmental and musical - is one of the most effective weapons in this film's arsenal, as the tension of sense of wrongness ratchets up throughout the film. Of course, the tight script, solid direction and good performances all help! (especially Donald Sutherland, whose character's unspoken love for the film's leading lady is obvious from their first conversation)

There's probably not much to spoil here, on the story front. There have been four film adaptations of the novel The Body Snatchers, and the 1978 version has probably had the strongest cultural impact of the four. We're talking pod people from space replacing humans, doppelgangers that are physically identical but lack any of the emotions of the original. Once discovered, the aliens attempt to sell this as a positive: all the experiences and knowledge of the original, none of the fears and hatreds. We're talking paranoia and suspicion and hidden enemies who look just like us (no surprise this was filmed in the Cold War). And, of course, we're talking about that ending. Either you know what I mean, or you should be hunting down this movie right now.

An absolute classic, thoroughly deserving of its many accolades.

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