Body Snatchers

07/18/2016 20:00

Film: Body Snatchers

Year: 1993

Director: Abel Ferrara

Writer: Stuart Gordon, Dennis Paoli and Nicholas St. John

Starring: Gabrielle Anwar, Meg Tilly and Terry Kinney



This film begins with a family moving to a military base in what looks to be Florida. The father is played by Terry Kinney and he works for the EPA. There are chemicals that are being stored at this base and he is there to make sure they are properly handled with minimal chance of leaks and contamination. His wife is played by Meg Tilly. Kinney has a daughter, who is played by Gabrielle Anwar, but Tilly is not her mother. Her mother passed away. Kinney and Tilly do have a son though played by Reilly Murphy. The family stops off a gas station before reaching the base and Anwar goes to use the restroom. She is attacked by a solider in there. He has a knife; he covers her mouth and puts it to her throat. The solider is played by Keith Smith. He flees, so we wonder if it really happened.

Murphy goes to daycare and we soon learn that there is something wrong. All of the kids hold up pictures that are the same, except for Murphy. They were doing finger painting. He doesn’t like being there.

Kinney meets with the general in charge of the base; he is played by R. Lee Ermey. He allows Kinney to do his job, but only so he can get off the base as soon as possible. Kinney goes out to a water supply to take samples and he meets a major who is also a doctor played by Forest Whitaker. He is concerned because there have been a lot of soldiers coming in who aren’t acting themselves and they are scared of family members. Whitaker wants to know if there is something in the chemicals that would cause them to feel this way.

Murphy flees from school and is picked up by soldiers. One of them is played by Billy Wirth. He brings the boy home and meets Anwar. Kinney comes home almost at the same time and checks to see why Murphy is home. Anwar then goes for a walk where she is stopped by Military Police. A young woman pulls up in a convertible and saves her. This woman is played by Christine Elise. It turns out that her father is Ermey. Elise is a wild child and dresses that way. She brings Anwar to her home where we see Elise’s mother, played by Kathleen Doyle, passed out drunk.

That night Tilly is in bed when Murphy enters the room. He sees something happen to her where her body disintegrates. Tilly then appears from the closet, naked. What is going on here?

Elise comes by to pick up Anwar and they go out on the town. They told Kinney that Anwar would be home by midnight. Elise then takes her to a bar where they run into Wirth and his friend G. Elvis Phillips. It appears that Phillips is seeing Elise. Anwar then sits and talks with Wirth. As they do, Smith enters the bar and they take a man who is sleeping with them. Anwar states to Wirth that he scared her at the gas station and Smith comes over to them. Wirth and he exchange words with Wirth and Anwar leaving. They go into the woods where they play ‘Never Have I Ever’. It is important to point out that Wirth confirms that he hides his emotions. The two kiss.

The film then shows a bunch of soldiers in a swamp, pulling out more pods. It appears that much of this town has been taken over. Who is still themselves and who is not?

Anwar goes to take a bath and then she is attacked by a pod that is above her. It covers her face with tubes. Tilly is giving Kinney a back massage and he falls asleep. The same thing happens to him with a pod under the bed. Anwar wakes up when the pod falls through the ceiling. It is almost an exact replica of her. She rips the tubes off her face and the creature dies. She then goes in to save her father from the same fate. His other version grabs her ankle before dying.

Tilly gives them a speech when they come downstairs that there is nowhere they can go; there is no where they can flee, because no matter what, they are going to take over. Kinney, Anwar and Murphy escape the house. Tilly lets out a scream and that draws the attention of other pod people to them. The chase is on. Wirth hears gunfire and when he goes to see what is wrong, he is confronted by Phillips. Can Wirth get away? Whitaker is also still human, can he survive? Will Kinney and his family make it out alive? Can the pod people be stopped before it is too late?

I have to say that this is a scary concept. The idea of pods taking over the bodies of people and then making exact replicas would be terrifying. What makes it this way is the fact that you have no idea who is human and who isn’t. The concept of this originally started back in the 1950s, when the novel was written. I do believe that back then though, the ‘Red Scare’ was a basis for the concept. You couldn’t tell who was Communist and who was not. The idea still translates well even though this one takes place in the 1990s. I think that the acting is okay. Tilly was great as an alien, but she doesn’t show much range before hand to make it believable. Kinney does a fine job as well as Murphy. Wirth also does good as someone who can mimic the aliens and how they are. The film becomes quite hectic at the climax which does ramp up the tension pretty well. At the time of viewing this film, I have never seen the original. I have seen two of the remakes, but do not remember much to base this review on unfortunately.

I did have some issues with this film. The first is that I felt like the film made it almost seem at first that they share one conscious, but by the end of the film I see that really isn’t the case. If it was, there would be no way to pretend to be one of them then. There were also some things that happened that I felt to be a little bit too convenient. One of them turned out to be a ruse, so that actually become a positive for me. I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending and what it implicates. I tend to lean on wanting the bad guys to win as well as the most realistic ending. I did have issue with this film’s ending due to this.

Now with that said, I still liked this version of ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’. I do feel that this is a concept that does translate well to the update to the 90s. The acting is good for the most part. As stated, the idea is great and truly terrifying, especially not know who you can trust and who you cannot. The film does really ramp up for the climax and builds tension very well. There were a couple of things that were a little bit too convenient for my liking. I also question if the aliens should be that easily tricked as well. I also did not necessarily care for the ending. Despite this, I would still say that this version of the film is worth a viewing. I cannot tell you if it is better than any previous versions, but having viewed this one first, it is worth it.


My Rating: 6 out of 10