Say it with a straight face: “alien plants plotting world domination on Earth.”
Plants find it necessary to make duplicates of each human individual due to some silly, pragmatic choice, which is why it’s astonishing that this horror film succeeds. But director Philip Kaufman takes the material seriously.
Kaufman’s 1978 “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” has a rhythm of unsettling sound effects, a momentum of subtle camerawork and patient pacing to the plot build-up.
A health department worker, Elizabeth Discroll (Brooke Adams), finds that her live-in boyfriend (Art Hindle) has become withdrawn with no explanation. Her concerns are dismissed as marital delusions. Her concerned co-worker, Matthew (Donald Sutherland), sets out to uncover the extraterrestrial conspiracy.
Unfortunately, the characters are thinner than the suspense. The characters serve as devices that scream and attempt to make sense of this engulfing apocalypse. Donald Sutherland’s and Jeff Goldblum’s characters seem to be the exceptions to the underwhelming cast.
Much of the characters’ actions are not thought-out well. Notice that the protagonists don’t exercise caution. They don’t try to blend in with the pod people by acting emotionless, though this piece of common sense comes long overdue in the climatic mark.
But the pod people, in their grotesque CGI-free make-up, are the stars of this film. They’re so magnificent that you’re curious to see their successful world domination.