29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 11 July 2000
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (IOTBS) is a well-paced and highly creepy sci-fi thriller which has not really aged since it's initial release back in 1978.
This was perhaps not the best year to release a movie entitled 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers'. Star Wars was still filling the cinemas a year after its release, and the big-budget remake of Superman was released at around the same time, while IOTBS was initially perceived as another shaky 1950's remake.
However, IOTBS is a genunely edgy, frightening film that has been critically under-rated for many years. The lead performances from Sutherland, Adams, Goldblum, Cartwright and Nimoy are excellent, and we have genuine sympathy for each of the characters involved as the unseen, parasitical alien forces close-in on them one by one. You will not 'sleep' easily after seeing this, so to speak.
Director Kaufmann accurately portrays an unsettling undercurrent of 1970's urban paranoia in the setting of San Francisco, and almost parodies the needless psychotherapy undertaken by millions of American's during this period, in a country not completely at ease with itself in the first place.
There is little in way of gore, although what shocks do occur are effectively dealt with,with creepy camera angles which shows a weak society slowly and unconsciously surrendering to superior extraterrestrial forces, which manifest themselves in an unlikely yet frighteningly realistic manner. The depressing, final scene with Veronica Cartwright and Donald Sutherland is one of the most haunting endings of all time. Overall, this comes highly recommended.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 16 May 2009
Just caught up with this, having seen snatches on the TV I ordered the DVD. It seems ubelievable that it was made in 1978. It has what so many modern films lack, tension and special effects that don't dominate but that contribute to the narrative.
It is tense, edge of the seat, portays the sort of paranoia that has can seem to be there, just under the surface at times of terrorist threat or similar, and it also captures the feeling of isolation.
Extremely good, very unsettling and a real surprise ending. Recommended.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 27 December 2013
Well ill start by saying I did order this and something else before xmas but this did not turn up from amazon so I had bought it else where.
The movie has always been one of my fav movies, it is for me 1 of the best remakes ever made that is way way better than the original, it creepy, stylish and just great :D
The Blu-ray is packed with tons of extras so fans will love this inc a thick booklet in the case.
The sound is fabulous, this is down to this movie having some of the best uses of music, scores and sound effects ive heard specially for a movie form the 70s.
NOW the picture quality I will now say I pretty great for a movie from the 70s, arrow have done a great job
I will say PEOPLE CHECK YOUR TV SETTINGS
im saying this because for some time ive bought blu-rays from newer movies to old movies and a lot have had tons and tons of grain, this movie when I put it in my player was filled with grain it looked like someone had tipped white bits over my tv screen, I was about to stick to my old dvd copy the grain was that bad BUT I checked mt tv settings and I set it all to default then in the MODE section it was automatically set to DYNAMIC so I flicked through and I kept it on NATURAL mode and BANG 90% of the grain was gone
I couldn't believe the big difference just because of 1 setting on my LED tv, I will say its 90% better and 90% of the grain has gone and everything looks great and sharp, the 10% of grain that's left is simply because its a old movie
I checked my other blu-rays and they are all grain free now :D
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Arrow Video's transfer, Philip Kaufman's Invasion of the Body Snatchers comes complete with many fascinating extras and an informative booklet. As the film was transferred from a 35mm interpositive and original 35mm 2-track stereo printmaster mag the end result is highly satisfactory.
The audio is fine for a film of this period and the depth, contrast, colour, contrast, sharpness and clarity of the video image are all good. Even if some noise is apparent during darker sequences and there are a few very minor examples of sparkle and print damage, these do not detract in any way from the viewing experience of this accomplished and still chilling horror film which is both well acted and directed. Be aware that this is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
I recently saw the re-make of this film starring Nicole Kidman, which was not as bad as reviewers would have you believe, but in comparison to this masterpeice of horror, starring Donald Sutherland, really is trash.
The paranoia and suspension in the film are captured particularly well. The horror is created, not by gore and sharp shocks, but by the constant atmosphere of things going wrong and the sense of impending doom. Donald Sutherland acts particularly well and you feel his struggle to escape to the bitter end.
The final scene is probably one of the finest ever captured by film, but be warned, it will not make you feel good.
Absolutely wonderful. A cinematic masterpiece
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 19 July 2015
A classic 1978 remake of the 1958 version of the same name
the plot is the same as the 1958 version only difference is filmed in 1978 San francisco
plus you have Donald sutherland in the Lead role along with Brooke Adams
the 1978 version is more of a Psychological thriller brilliantly directed by Phillip kaufmann
but some of the scenes do seem to Drag a little
meaning the excitement does not start until maybe 60mins into the film
so the 1st hour builds up alot of suspense, still hell of a Good thriller anyway
Arrow films have released their blu-ray version
with the exact same HD transfer as the U.S. MGM blu-ray version which has both 2.0 stereo mix & 5.1 master audio mix options
the picture quality in 1:85:1 ratio is very sharp & clear, like i said the same transfer as the MGM blu-ray
Arrow films have carried over all the special features from the MGM blu-ray, but have also added new extras aswell
the extras carried over from the MGM blu-ray
RE-VISITORS FROM OUTER SPACE-retrospective featurette with Phillip kaufmann, Donald sutherland & Veronica cartwright
Brooke Adams & Jeff Goldblum, & Leornard nimoy are not interviewed for some reason
THE MEN BEHIND THE SCREAM, interview with sound effects man Ben Burtt
THE INVASION WILL BE TELEVISED, interview with Cinematographer Mark chapman
PRACTICAL EFFECTS- THE SPECIAL EFFECT POD,a featurette about the special effects in the film, the Pods mainly
plus AUDIO COMMENTARY by Phillip kaufmann from the DVD release, for some reason this commentary track
was not carried over to the U.S. blu-ray version so it's on this U.K. blu-ray instead
plus collectors booklet as usual
the new extras from Arrow video,
DISCUSSING THE POD, interview with Kim newman about the different Body snatcher films that have been made over the Decades
the original 1958 version, the 1990's Abel ferrara film Body snatchers is talked about and of course this 1978 version
WRITING THE POD, is about Author Jack finney and his Novel Invasion of the body snatchers
and other stuff to
so if you have ALL regions player then it's not going to matter which blu-ray version to buy, the U.S. or U.K. blu-ray
or buy both up to you, this Arrow films blu-ray does have additional new extras thou.
5 stars for this new blu-ray, 4 stars for the MGM blu-ray
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
There is a lot more, to the film than you'd think from just reading the movie title.
This is the first remake of assimilation and covert Alien infiltration classic of the 1950s, the new setting for the invasion from a small town to the city of San Francisco, in the late 1970s, and starts as Matthew Bennell notices that several of his friends are complaining that their close relatives are in some way changed. This is a solid speculative fiction narrative tinged with within a horror context with rather good production values. Those values include good direction by Philip Kaufman, camera-work by Michael Chapman in the form of the facial close-ups and interesting camera angles. The acting of the cast of main characters was comprised of Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Veronica Cartwright, Jeff Goldblum and last but not least the late Leonard Nimoy whose characterization; as the all explaining psychiatrist was exceedingly well done, as you really want to believe his explanation of events, as the truth is all too frightening. Donald Sutherland had quite a lot of the dialogue and was the most notable. All of it added up, for me anyway to a very good re-make that really brought the original themes to a more modern setting and a much darker closure.
--------------------Dare you take a nap?-------------------------
For me, this movie did so well in the build-up, with the uncertainty and suspense that translates into a real crescendo, and proved you don't need a lot of violence and body parts to scare the viewer. In fact the creepiest thing of the movie - and it WAS scary too - was the eerie guttural sound - the piercing pod scream. The film is a visual treat. The star of the first film, by the way - Kevin McCarthy, makes a great cameo appearance, which was a nice touch. Due to Kevin McCarthy's appearance and warning, some viewers have seen this movie as possible sequel to the 1950s movie.
If there is anything to dislike about the film, it's the fact that it seems to be shown on TV late at night, which makes this viewer very apprehensive about going to bed.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 February 2010
I admit that I haven't seen the original 1956 sci/fi classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers but this remake was fantastic. This was a solid horror/sci-fi story with good production values. Those values include outstanding direction by Philip Kaufman, camera-work by Michael Chapman and acting. The cast of main characters was comprised of Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Leonard Nimoy, Jeff Goldblum and Veronica Cartwright. Of the group, Sutherland had the most lines and was the most impressive. All of it added up to a pretty intense and suspenseful film. Spores from outer space fall in San Francisco where they begin to hatch flowers, which eventually ends up in peoples homes. City health department employee Elizabeth (Brooke Adams) confides in her colleague Matthew (Donald Sutherland) that her boyfriend seems to have changed. Matthew soon encounters similar situations, including two friends who find a body in their bathhouse, which takes on features as they sleep. Matthew's friend, psychologist David Kibner (Leonard Nimoy from Star Trek), insists that is all well. But it isn't and as the city quickly gets taken over, everyone will become one of them. Invasion of the Body Snatchers had some really nice and memorable scenes, good scares and a good atmosphere and the ending was brilliant, probably one of the best endings to a horror thriller film ever. The effects of the alien pods was pretty good and quite effective, theres not that much blood and hardly any gore but still it had a creepy atmosphere and dealt with issues like paranoia and distrust. It starts off good but then regressed with the social commentary on relationships and all the transitioning through the psychologist. Great film though, worth a viewing, especially to see all the stars: Jeff Goldblum, Donald Sutherland and Leonard Nimoy.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 22 December 2013
This is a review of the blu-ray steelbook edition from Arrow Video.
The image quality on this release is excellent, especially for a movie that was made in the 1970s. The closeups of plants in the opening sequences are pristine, and in general the image quality makes it easy to appreciate the superb camerawork that is in evidence in so many scenes. (But a warning to those with an LCD TV: the many night scenes don't look that great on my LCD: the blacks are only a middling darkish gray. On a friend's plasma TV the image in these scenes was much better, with deep, eerie blacks that made the scenes much more effective.)
Aside from the extras listed by Amazon, this edition contains a 52-page booklet with an (apparently original) article by David Cairnes, "We Came From Outer Space" plus the following reprints:
- "Pods Over San Francisco" which originally appeared in Film Comment in 1979
- an interview with Philip Kaufman which originally appeard in Film Comment in 1979
- an interview with W.D. Richter, the screenplay author, which originally appeared in Cinefantastique in 1978
These are in-depth articles with a wealth of information on the film.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Philip Kaufman's Invasion of the Body Snatchers is one of the few remakes that genuinely both compliments and adds to its predecessor - indeed, it's as much of a sequel to the 1956 classic as it is an updating (original star Kevin McCarthy actually crashes into the film to briefly reprise his role while director Don Siegel cameos as a suspicious cab driver). It's smart and entertaining with both a stylistic edge and the substance underneath to back it up. It's all the more impressive for its strong sense of time and place, imposing unnatural events onto an already alienated city environment that is completely credible. Updated to the 70s and the Me Generation and its attendant anxieties, it both plays on post-Watergate paranoia and the growing feeling of alienation paralysing people and their emotions long before any real aliens appeared, something the move from small town America to the big city only emphasises. It's a place where Leonard Nimoy's psychiatrist can rationalise people's fears that their friends and family aren't themselves until it's too late, where people's everyday distrust is so natural that even they think they're being paranoid. Only, of course, it's not paranoia if they really are out to get you...
It's a surprisingly mature and complex film, the emotional pitch and relationships rising at the same time the characters need to hide them the most. Kaufman's direction, an excellent use of sound and silence and Michael Chapman's superb cinematography combining perfectly to create a world going subtly but increasingly askew, throwing in some curiously offbeat images like a cameoing Robert Duvall's priest joylessly going back and forth on a swing that tip you off from the start that there's something wrong with this picture. It's beautifully cast too, with Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Veronica Cartwright and Jeff Goldblum making convincingly flawed, sometimes antagonistic but very believable humans you can root for and Nimoy playing off his Spock image as the psychiatrist who proposes opening up to emotions when he's really shutting them off. The script, too, is such a model of economy in explaining the nature both of the pods and the mechanics of their `invasion' whilst providing witty and believably human characterisation within a strong narrative rich in subtext that it makes you wonder whether it's the same W.D. Richter who wrote Buckeroo Banzai...
There are a couple of missteps - one terrible shock makeup effect and a misjudged moment of panic from one of the pod people - but with so much else so perfectly, chillingly right about the film they're easy to forgive. One of the very best films of the 70s - and that ending is still a real shocker!
The Region 2 DVD boasts a good 1.85:1 widescreen transfer with a good f sometimes vague audio commentary by Kaufman and the original trailer, but it's worth looking out for the Region 1 NTSC special edition which adds some featurettes to the mix.