Tobe Hooper’s remake of Invaders from Mars is an embarrassing combination of kitsch and boredom. Inferior screenplay [based on the 1953 original] fails to bring in new ideas or provide interesting dialog.
First 45 minutes are interminably dull. Little David Gardner (Hunter Carson) sees a spaceship land one night and soon after his father George (Timothy Bottoms), biology teacher Mrs. McKeltch (Louise Fletcher) and even the police chief who investigates (Jimmy Hunt, who as a child played the lead role in the 1953 original) begin behaving out of normal character. Next day mom (Laraine Newman) is scarred and zombie-like as well.
David finally gets his school nurse Linda (Karen Black) to believe his tall tale and they whip into action to stop the invasion and spread of controlled people. Film finally comes alive when David wanders into Martian subterranean tunnels. [Special visual effects by John Dykstra, invader creatures by Stan Winston.]
Not helping is some subpar acting. Trick casting of Black, who’s Carson’s real-life mother, not as his fictional mom but rather his only friend, doesn’t pay off. Best acting is by James Karen as a stereotyped gung-ho marine.