Invasion of the Bodysnatchers (1978) - 7/10
There’s a lot of great sci-fi thrillers made in the 70s, but Invasion of the Bodysnatchers should feature highly on any list. That title alone is bloody brilliant, even if it’s taken from the novel. The trick like with so many films like this, it’s almost plausible. Granted we’ve got an invading alien species, but it’s subtle, natural, organic. Quite literally. Spores rain down from outer space and begin to grow in San Fransisco. Initially no one knows where they’re from, but it doesn’t take long for concerns to be raised. Matthew (Donald Sutherland) is a health inspector. Making enemies with the local restaurants. He works with Elizabeth (Brooke Adams) who’s recently been flower picking and brought something exotic home. The next day, her usually amorous boyfriend doesn’t seem to be himself. She knows something’s not right, following him around town she watches some odd behaviour and soon Matthew clocks that others are behaving weirdly too. It feels like a well paced slow burner, but it’s not short on drama and it’s not long before things begin to ramp up. Partly due to the menacing score and eerieness of an increasing cast of zombies slowly exchanging glances, but also Jeff Goldblum! He’s Matthews friend Jack and with Goldlum’s default manic delivery he’s the perfect vessel to add fuel to the building conspiracy. His arch nemesis is fellow psychiatrist and writer Kibner (Leonard Nimoy), he thinks he’s got the explanation for the rise of seemingly broken relationships… he’s wrong. All this adds meat to the bones though and weight to the characters that would otherwise be wooden… like the bodysnatchers. We know what’s happening, why it’s happening (sort of), but not quite how and more importantly, how to stop it. As the snatching starts to affect the main players, things start to get freaky and we start to see the big difference between this remake and the earlier 1956 outing. It’s much more visual with its make up and effects, including some body horror that would tick Croenbergs box. It’s fantastical stuff. Kibner doesn’t buy it. Elizabeth and the others see it though and even if Matthew thinks it crazy, he sees the danger. There are some illogical jumps, but with a story like this you’ve got to go with it. Don’t overthink it, just enjoy the building paranoia, the gooey pods, the hopelessness and those terrifying gaping mouthed screams! Not many remakes are good, but this one is great.