Invasion of the Body Snatchers validates the entire concept of remakes. This new version of Don Siegel’s 1956 cult classic not only matches the original in horrific tone and effect, but exceeds it in both conception and execution.
W.D. Richter has updated and changed the locale of Jack Finney’s serial story to contemporary San Francisco, where Donald Sutherland is a public health inspector, assisted by Brooke Adams. Following the blanketing of the city by spidery webs, Adams notices unusual and sudden changes in b.f. Art Hindle, who becomes emotionless and distant.
Similar transformations are happening all over the city, and while at first Sutherland doubts Adams’ sanity, he is soon won over to her paranoia. He invokes the help of an est-type of psychiatrist played with wonderful shading by Leonard Nimoy.
Jeff Goldblum and Veronica Cartwright portray a couple who stumble on one of the blank pod bodies before Goldblum succumbs. As the legions of zombies grows, these four remain about the only humans left, and the latter part of Body Snatchers details with methodical ominousness their pursuit.
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Sutherland has his best role since Klute. He gets excellent support from Adams, who projects a touching vulnerability.
Film buffs will have a delight in spotting Kevin McCarthy, who starred in the original version, picking up exactly where he left off at the first pic’s finale.