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Review of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

Every since I got into watching films frequently I've discovered a taste for certain genres: one of my personal favorites being the midnight drive in B-movie films. Thus, it makes sense that the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers from 1956 is one of my favorite films in that area (not to mention one of my favorite films of all time). The way the story was told was gripping and suspenseful in the original. I can honestly say that the original movie scared me beyond belief; the very idea that your loved ones turn against you and slowly kill off human civilization. Now that to me is a scary story to be put on screen.

However, that's not what we're talking about today; no we are talking about the 1978 remake version. Now so many people and reviewers I meet have told me, "Wow if you really liked the first one then you're really going to love the remake! They did it so well it's way better!" Of course I didn't go into the film expecting better than the original but I had my expectations high. I mean two decades later and an all star cast of characters I was really excited to see this movie. However, upon finishing it my expectations fell flat.

I guess the best way to review this film is to break it down by the elements. To start the characters; I know, I know I just complimented the all star cast and now I'm turning against them but let me explain. Now in this movie I think it's a little confused as to who the Major character focus should be. I mean at first I thought that Elizabeth would be the main focus; I thought that would be a great way to tell it. Instead of telling in flashback throw us into the story from the beginning. Honestly that was a great idea and now the movie will focus on Elizabeth as the center of this story. But, later on the movie decides that Matthew should be the focus of the story and have the last major action scene. Plus, since these two are just friends instead of lovers it sort of dampened the sad moments for me (not to say they weren't sad but it made me feel less then the original did).

Also, at times I feel like some of the actors have very little to do I mean they got Leonard Nimoy and he just stands around for the most part! Also, they got Kevin McCarthy to cameo in this movie but it was a draw back to the original and it felt forced. Maybe I'm being to hard on this film but I really had high hopes for this remake: good remakes do exist and I thought this could be one of them.

But, probably one of my biggest problems with this movie is the way they portrayed the pod people. No don't get me wrong they kept the pod people back story still a mystery and that's what I find scary: the unknown. However, the way they shrieked in order to alert others about humans was silly and unnecessary. I mean how am I suppose to take the shrieking seriously? It just comes across as goofy and forced. The scariness of the first film was how identical the enemy was to us; how the enemy could be living next door, your parents, maybe even the girl holding your hand. But, the remake was all like, "We don't need subtlety! Let them scream and shriek that will strike fear into the hearts of our viewers!" Now maybe some people found the shrieking scary but personally I think it gave away who was on what side. Before you didn't know and now here's a distinct indignation that they are the enemy. I know some people will say, "Well they don't scream when there are more people around!" To that I say of course they don't so why would they do it when they have just a few more humans to nab? Wouldn't that increase their chances of losing people that know what they really are? Again back to the original people will say, "But, it that movie the Pod People showed themselves to the main characters by flat out telling them." To which I say; well yeah they were sure they had them cornered and wanted to bring down their morality to a state of helplessness. They acted like that because they had the knowledge to because they were without emotions. In the remake they just make them monsters with basic instincts.

Anyway that's my two cents and I just wanted to put this out here. No offense to any fan of this film; this is just my opinion and this film wasn't for me. It tried to be on par with the original and I was hoping it would. But, sadly for me it fell flat. I mean it's certainly not the worst remake in the world believe me it's not but for me it didn't match up to the feeling of the first one. Thank you for your time :)
Added by SwornShadow
6 years ago on 22 February 2012 04:39