Wednesday, 5 November 2014
Invasion of the Pod People (2007)
If you're the kind of person who actually reads this blog, you won't need me to point out the Invasion of the Body Snatchers connection here. And indeed, this is a "mockbuster" from The Asylum, who run a presumably successful business based on making cheap knock-offs of high profile films. In this case it was Nicole Kidman's The Invasion. Which makes this one of several Asylum films based on blockbusters that - financially, anyway - were anything but.
Even by The Asylum's low standards, this is a poorly made film. I'm used to often wooden acting and poor FX, but the dialogue in this is sometimes near inaudible. I'm willing to forgive technical flaws like that in a film like Pathogen, since it was made by a 12 year old. In a movie that IMDB estimates costs $750,000, it's a lot less excusable.
This version of the basic Body Snatchers formula transfers the 'action' to a modelling agency, where agent Melissa notices a change in the behaviour of the people around them after they receive gifts of strange-looking plants.
Said plants are literally lumps of raw ginger stuck into pots, by the way. They don't even bother to paint them or stick weird growths on them or anything.
Part of the horror of the Body Snatchers is that the aliens exhibit an absence of fear, anger or hatred, presenting an almost tempting vision of peaceful coexistence for those who "join" them. This film seems to be eschewing that when it starts: instead the pod people replacements exhibit opposite personalities: nasty people turn nice, and vice versa. They also exhibit supercharged sexuality, leading to a rather tacky lesbian orgy scene.
The whole "opposites" thing gets dropped later, with the usual "join us and live a better life" thing being trotted out. Though maybe in this case the attraction is supposed to be the supposedly sexy times. Who knows? There's not much indication the writers do, as the script lurches to its lackluster conclusion.
In addition to uneven acting, pandering script and inaudible sound, the film suffers from a protagonist who is so willfully stupid you'll probably be cheering for the alien invaders by the time the movie ends. One to avoid unless you really love terrible mockbusters.