Review: Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1956)

invasion3

No one would ever want to snatch my body, far too old and rickety!

Screenplay By: Richard Collins & Daniel Mainwaring
Directed By: Don Siegel

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers is considered a seminal science fiction movie. It has been remade three times, each time to less than stellar results. Invasion of The Body Snatchers is a sparse film that doesn’t feature a single second of dynamic camera work, cinematography or slyness in the script. With that being the case one has to wonder how Invasion Of The Body Snatchers became a classic? The reason for that is simple, fear.

Most people won’t be scared while watching Invasion of The Body Snatchers because it doesn’t present itself as a traditional horror movie. But, there is plenty of fear and horror to be found in Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. There is fear in the allegorical leanings of the story as it relates to the Communist red scare of the 1950’s. But, more than that there is the constant sense of paranoia and the fear of being replaced or losing control of your own body. That type of fear or paranoia is something that everyone can relate to, and that is when Invasion of The Body Snatchers it at its finest.

As I stated above, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers is a sparse movie, but the stark nature of the film didn’t quite work for me. I wanted something more tangible, something to grab onto to go along with the feeling of paranoia. Maybe a little flourish every now and then in the direction or an added layer to the subtext. Alas, nothing came along to make the film a fuller experience and I was left with a “blah” feeling when the movie ended. This also may have been due to the tacked on prologue and epilogue that weren’t necessary and helped to dampen the sense of paranoia that Invasion Of The Body Snatchers was trying to extol.

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers is a good film, with a sense of fear and paranoia that is present throughout. It also does a good job of bringing the real life McCarthy scares into a palpable subtext on the screen. But, there isn’t anything memorable about Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, nor is there any reason that you need to make it a point to see the film. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers falls into that familiar category of worth a watch if you stumble across it, but not a film you need to track down.

Rating:

***

Cheers,
Bill

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2 responses to “Review: Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1956)

  1. I agree. There is a ” constant sense of paranoia” in the film. That’s what makes it more of a horror movie than a science fiction. I think that many people who believe in conspiracy theories will appreciate this film. It is centered in fear of the other, and rightly so. The pod people (like an evil government) are out to get you.

    I wrote a short essay on the film called “Individualism vs. Communism.” If you would like to read it, I am open to any helpful feedback: https://christopherjohnlindsay.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/invasion-of-the-body-snatchers/

  2. I can see what you are writing about, and it is present in the film no doubt. However, I felt that it wasn’t implemented in as cohesive of a fashion as it could have been. May have something to do with the source material or idea, as I’ve found all three film versions I have seen to be lacking in some manner.

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