STARRING: Terry Kinney, Meg Tilly, Gabrielle Anwar, Forest Whitaker, Reilly Murphy, Billy Wirth, Christine Elise, R. Lee Ermey, Kathleen Doyle 

1994, 87 Minutes, Directed by: Abel Ferrara

Description: The pod people are back! Aliens take over human bodies and souls in this remake of the classic tale starring Meg Tilly, Gabrielle Anwar and Forest Whitaker.

Ever found yourself looking at other persons and wondering whether you actually really knew them? Of course you have. Although, if the feeling persists some professional help might probably be in order . . .

Everybody gets these feelings once in a while, which is probably why there has been three film adaptations of the 1940s The Body Snatchers novel by Jack Finney, in 1956 as Invasion of the Body Snatchers and in 1978 (also as Invasion of the Body Snatchers).

It is, as you are no doubt aware, about people who are replaced by so-called "pod people", alien invaders from outer space. These invaders look and sound like the people they replace - but they do not act like them. In fact, they are emotionless creatures conforming to some kind of hive mentality. . .

This 1994 version of the familiar story by director Abel (The Bad Lieutenant) Ferrera is perhaps the least known or seen of all the versions, but is by no means the worst. It is more a variation on existing themes than a remake of the previous films and updates the story to a 1990s setting.

"If you’ve seen any of the other versions, then little in Body Snatchers will come as any real surprise. "

This version is about a teenage girl (Gabrielle Anwar - the beautiful girl with whom Al Pacino danced in Scent Of A Woman) and her dysfunctional family consisting of her father, stepmother and little stepbrother who goes to an army base that is infiltrated by the emotionless body snatchers. Ever thought there is something weird about the military? Well, now you know . . .

Why re-tell a story for a second time? The metaphor behind Body Snatchers is a powerful one that can be adapted to fit your cause. The first film was either a commentary on the absurdities of the Cold War and McCarthyism or a paranoid fear of communism. The second one perhaps a lament for the passing of the hippie era. This latest version? Film critic Roger Ebert read into it a fear of Aids.

Personally I see it as some kind of commentary on the international political conformity of the post-Cold War era, George Bush’s so-called "New Order" enforced by the U.S. military. But then again, that’s just me . . .

But enough Intellectual Film Criticism 101, is the film any good? The film suffers from over-familiarity. If you’ve seen any of the other versions, then little in Body Snatchers will come as any real surprise.

However, some scenes are quite effective and suspenseful and in the end Body Snatchers, despite its faults, is a nasty piece of paranoia (especially if you share my dread of people in uniforms) . . .


Sci-Fi Movie Page Pick: So . . . the military has been taken over by an alien intelligence? What else is new?! Third remake of the now very familiar Invasion of the Body Snatchers storyline, this one is set in an Army base camp and has some pretty effective moments. Directed by Abel (Bad Lieutenant) Ferarra and starring that sexy, stylish girl from Scent of a Woman.


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