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Body Snatchers

Body Snatchers (1993) Movie Poster
  •  USA  •    •  87m  •    •  Directed by: Abel Ferrara.  •  Starring: Terry Kinney, Meg Tilly, Gabrielle Anwar, Reilly Murphy, Billy Wirth, Christine Elise, R. Lee Ermey, Kathleen Doyle, Forest Whitaker, G. Elvis Phillips, Stanley Small, Tonea Stewart, Keith Smith.  •  Music by: Joe Delia.
        Marty Malone is moving with her father, stepmother, and stepbrother to a military base where her father will investigate possible environmental and ecological problems. Before they get to town, Marty is warned in a gas station restroom by a crazed looking military man that, "They get you when you sleep!" Marty adjusts to life on the base by flirting with a young officer and making friends with the rebellious daughter of the base commander. These friends help her when a plot by aliens to turn all humans into unemotional, unfeeling "pod people" shifts into high gear. As her family and friends are attacked, Marty doesn't know who to trust.

Trailers:

   Length:  Languages:  Subtitles:
 1:48
 
 

Review:

Image from: Body Snatchers (1993)
Image from: Body Snatchers (1993)
Image from: Body Snatchers (1993)
Image from: Body Snatchers (1993)
Image from: Body Snatchers (1993)
Image from: Body Snatchers (1993)
Image from: Body Snatchers (1993)
Image from: Body Snatchers (1993)
Image from: Body Snatchers (1993)
Image from: Body Snatchers (1993)
Image from: Body Snatchers (1993)
Image from: Body Snatchers (1993)
Image from: Body Snatchers (1993)
Image from: Body Snatchers (1993)
Image from: Body Snatchers (1993)
Image from: Body Snatchers (1993)
Image from: Body Snatchers (1993)
I watched this last night via the PlayStation Network's movie rental service. Before I get started, I'd like to say that, while I haven't seen the '56 original, I have seen the '78 remake with Donald Sutherland, which I feel ranks as one of the best horror films I've seen. Going into this, I wasn't expecting it to live up to the '78 version, but I was expecting to be entertained. And while it wasn't a great movie, it did fulfill my expectations.

First off, the special effects for the pods are phenomenal. The pods are all practical effects, which is made more impressive by the fact that, unlike the '78 version, they had the option of CGI at this point. The scene where the pods are attacking Marti and Steve (two scenes for the former) are extremely tense, and honestly had me thinking "oh my god they're actually gonna do it they're gonna kill the main characters". However, I feel that the effects here are overused. In '78, when you saw Elizabeth crumble into dust as a result of being absorbed by her pod, it hit hard. Here, however, the same effect is used at least half a dozen times for cheap shocks, wearing it out quickly.

The setting also served to provide some nice commentary on the '90s. All of the films are basically products of their times. In '56, the theme was, depending on how you look at it, either the Red Menace or McCarthyism. In '78, it was pop psychology, born-again Christianity, and the alienation of urban life that got satirized. Here in '93, the theme is the conformity of modern life, which turns people into soulless pod creatures even without aliens taking their bodies. It's fitting that the takeover is already underway when the Malones arrive at the base, because to some extent, the soldiers have long ago suppressed their individuality in the name of their community. It's just how the Army works. And by having the protagonist be a teenage girl, the concept is extended to suburban drudgery as well. Some have complained that this defeats the whole point of the movie, but I feel that it strengthens it. After all, what is the difference between the titular body snatchers and the mindless conformity of our suburban lives? And now you know why the basic "body snatcher" idea is so scary and effective -- it can be applied to anything, in any era.

The acting is serviceable. Gabrielle Anwar and Meg Tilly are the standouts here, the former carrying much of the film and looking damn good doing it, and the latter delivering the "where you gonna run" speech, which is the film's single greatest line. Forest Whitaker and R. Lee Ermey are wasted though, each having only a couple of scenes, and the latter not breaking from his typecasting as a hardass authority figure. Billy Wirth gets the "hero" role and plays it well enough, although he and Anwar had no chemistry. Their kiss was one of the most unconvincing that I had ever seen, and the most unintentionally funny scene in the movie. Terry Kinney is rather plain as the dad, while Christine Elise does well in her small part as the general's rebellious daughter. One complaint that I have is that the pod people have a bit too much emotion. You're supposed to believe that they're soulless and emotionless (like, well, pod people), but seeing them raise their voices, as if they're angry, takes away from this.

Overall, I had a good time with this movie. It had its scary moments, some standout performances, and good ideas behind it, but overall, the execution didn't quite live up to the promise. If you're looking for a modern take on the "body snatcher" story, I'd recommend The Faculty, although this is also worth a watch.


Review by Kevin Rooney from the Internet Movie Database.