I love both versions of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956 and 1978). Netflix has Abel Ferrara’s more recent Body Snatchers (1993) available on instant play. Jack Finney’s source novel was adapted again into The Invasion in 2007 but while it is enjoyable, it is the least of the adaptations.
WATCH: Body Snatchers (1993) – “Young Marty Malone (Gabrielle Anwar) and her family have just moved to a Southern military base so that her father (Terry Kinney) can study a curious environmental issue. Just as she’s settling into her new life, Marty learns that an alien attack is imminent and that the creatures are planning to turn humans into “pod people” as they sleep. Marty and her friends must now band together to fight off the aliens.”
In 1993, sleaze-meister Abel Ferrara (Ms. .45, Driller Killer) turned to Body Snatchers after completing Bad Lieutenant. He does place his unique stamp on this classic tale and while it is a nice romp, it does not quite measure up to the first two. Part of the point of the original, set in small-town America, was that people you’d known your whole life might have been replaced. Abel Ferrara makes his film more about alienation and powerlessness – the protagonist is an alienated teen, her father is an EPA investigator and as such not exactly welcome at the military base. Marty’s mother is a stepmom and her friend’s mother is an alcoholic. There is one wonderfully creepy scene in a classroom where the children all show the pictures they’ve drawn. Ferrara keeps this moving at a brisk pace – the invasion is underway before Marty even arrives. Although the last 15 minutes of the movie make little sense, it is a fun ride.
People watchers: the versatile Forest Whitaker has a small part as a troubled Major.