Directed by Abel Ferrara [Other horror films: The Driller Killer (1979), The Addiction (1995), Siberia (2019)]
This is the third version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (the original from 1956 being a long-time favorite of mine, and the 1978 version is a favorite of others, though I’ve not seen it), and despite somewhat lukewarm expectations, it wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t great – I think the movie failed to feel as epic as the 1956 version did – but it was a decent way to pass the time.
Part of the reason being the setting shifting from the whole of a sleepy town to a military base. I didn’t mind the military base setting, but it didn’t really carry the same wide-spread panic and paranoia that made the original film so great.
The main cast was decently strong. It’s true that I wasn’t much moved by Terry Kinney (I probably could have been, but I think his character was under-utilized) or Meg Tilly (One Dark Night and Psycho II); Forest Whitaker, and, though he was nice to see, R. Lee Ermey (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) were also somewhat pointless.
Otherwise, though, Gabrielle Anwar (Crazy Eights) was pretty good as the main character. She was cute in a bratty way, and bratty in a cute way, so no complaints here. Christine Elise (Child’s Play 2) was fun in her few scenes, Billy Wirth a solid side-character. If Anwar hadn’t done as well as she did, the movie probably wouldn’t have really made an impact, but she did well.
This said, it doesn’t allow the film to possess anymore of a wide-spread feel. For the last thirty minutes or so, things just felt like they were moving a bit far (and the last five minutes, far too fast). The suspense beforehand was definitely preferable to the action that it become. I thought the voice-over by Anwar’s character was a bit hokey, but whateves, it was fun.
Body Snatchers isn’t going to become a favorite, but I had an okay time with it, and I enjoyed the multiple actors and actresses I recognized popping up (even if their character were of little relevance to the plot, such as Whitaker’s character). It’s an okay science-fiction/horror hybrid, but not much more.