This tense, offbeat piece of science-fiction is occasionally difficult to follow due to the strangeness of its scientific premise. Action nevertheless is increasingly exciting.
Plotwise, narrative opens on a strange hysteria that is spreading among the populace of a small California town. Townspeople appear as strangers to their relatives and friends, while retaining their outward appearances. Kevin McCarthy, a doctor, is confronted with solving these mysterious happenings, and helping him is Dana Wynter, with whom he’s in love.
A weird form of plantlife has descended upon the town from the skies. Tiny, this ripens into great pods and opens, from each of which emerges a ‘blank’, the form of each man, woman and child in the town. During their sleep, the blank drains them of all but their impulse to survive.
Adapted from Jack Finney’s Collier’s serial, characterizations and situations are sharp. Don Siegel’s taut direction is fast-paced generally, although in his efforts to spark the climax he permits McCarthy to overact in several sequences.