Invasion of the Body Snatchers Snatchers

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(You see what I did with that subject line — it’s like the movie itself has been snatched and remade as an emotionless alien version of itself. So meta. These are the dividends that you, the reader, reap from my three years in grad school.)

For me the 1970’s-era Invasion of the Body Snatchers is the primal SF horror movie experience. That slow, cold, creepy burn, the minimal effects, the twist ending, the casting that’s so close to being kitsch (Donald Sutherland and Leonard Frickin’ Nemoy!) but veers right into perfection. Plus full frontal nudity. Plus a dog with a dude’s head.

That’s still the only version — of the three extant and one forthcoming — that I’ve actually seen. But I’m certainly curious about the new one, where the title is truncated to “The Invasion.” The opening, shot in documentary style, and featuring a munged, contaminated space shuttle, gets the sense of wrongness just right. And yay for Jeremy Northam and Jeffrey Wright, both eternally watchable. And there’s a hint of some shocking Kidman-on-Kidman action right there at the end. Boo for the mommy/child plot, though — no one touches my child either, but I don’t have to make a damn movie about it, do I? And that guy who tells Kidman not to show any emotion leaves open the question as to whether Nicole Kidman has ever in her life shown any emotion in anything she’s ever been in. So you know, maybe she’s good with that.

Buzz on the film has been bad – apparently the Wachowski brothers and longtime partner James McTeigue were brought in for rewrites and reshoots. But you know what? I’m game for this. People say the 1956 version was about communism, and the ’78 version was about conformity. Maybe every generation gets the Bodysnatchers it deserves. Probably ours is about something lame like the Interweb or some such, but hell, I’m curious enough to find out.