Movie Review: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1978 thriller starring Donald Sutherland and Leonard Nimoy.

Synopsis: When a pair of San Francisco health department employees realize many of the city's citizens are beginning to act strangely, they investigate and discover the population is being replaced by pod-generated replicas. Unfortunately, by the time they realize what is happening, almost everyone has already been replaced, leaving them without any help to stop the invasion.


My wife and I have seen this movie at least a half dozen times. But, when I came across it on one of our movie channels a couple nights ago, I just had to record it so we could watch it again. We did just that yesterday evening and, once again, loved this film.

I've seen the original, 1956 version, of this movie in the past as well but, of the two, do prefer this remake. This is mostly because, in addition to being a decent science fiction/alien invasion film, it also manages to be a solid thriller.

In particular, I love how this movie builds the suspense. The main characters don't know what is happening right away and pretty much ignore the obvious clues. But, as the film progresses and they are in a position where they realize something is amiss, their investigations force them into situations that are actually pretty intense.

I especially like how the alien "pods" slowly make the change by attacking people when they are asleep and, as they turn more human looking, turn the original copy into dust. This makes those scenes considerably more creepy than you would expect from a movie like this (I personally liked how the transition would start out with a blob and that blob would slowly grow a recognizable face).

I think my only real complaint about this movie is I wasn't crazy about Sutherland in the starring role. I do like him as an actor, at least for the most part. But, his obsession with his much younger coworker (Adams) had a bit of a stalker-like vibe to it, even as she began to return his feelings. I think the film might have been better with an actor that was closer to her age (or actress that was closer to his age). Fortunately, the rest of the film definitely made up for that.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

San Francisco health inspectors find alien pods are taking over people as they sleep. Directed by Philip Kaufman.

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Final Opinion

This is a good science fiction thriller and a movie I do recommend taking the time to watch if you haven't seen it before. 

My Grade: A

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Updated: 06/17/2016, StevenHelmer
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StevenHelmer on 06/21/2016

It's definitely a memorable movie.

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