The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

COLUMN: ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’: a forgotten sci-fi/horror gem

Ashanti Thomas
Staff profile for Drew Coffey.

No film has portrayed the feeling of public isolation and warped realism better than the 1978 classic “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” directed by Philip Kaufman.  

The film is a remake of the 1956 movie of the same name and tells the story of a group of people who begin to notice people acting strangely within their city. They soon learn that a planetary alien invasion is occurring, completely cloning people all over the world.  

The 1978 version stars Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Leonard Nimoy, and a very, very young Jeff Goldblum (hard to believe, I know). 

To start, the cinematography is very frantic and really gets you in the mind of the characters.  

For example, there is a scene where Sutherland’s character Matthew is calling people and sensing that something is wrong. As he does this, the camera crashes around the phone booth, switching from quick closeups and shots of the busy city street.  

Scenes like this really show the inhuman nature of the alien clones and make it feel like with every word the character says more and more people are being replicated.  

Speaking of humans being replicated, the effects of the alien pods are very realistic and innovative.  

The detail that was used to show the gradual replication of human beings through makeup and prosthetic really sells the other-worldly aspect of the film.  

The scene that stuck with me the most was when Matthew was watching guard for his friends as they hid from the alien clones. However, he falls leaving him vulnerable to being cloned himself.  

The sequence where we see the full transformation of the alien pods is really impressive, especially in a film from the 1970s.  

One thing about the film that was unrealistic was the time it took for people to notice something was wrong. Now I understand that the behaviors of the replicated people were very strange, but I feel like people in the film were very quick to think that their family members or friends were somehow “not themselves.”  

I think characters starting to notice small and seemingly insignificant things about their closest friends or spouses would have added to the mystery aspect of the film a lot more.  

The acting is pretty good throughout except for some wooden performances in the occasional spurts of the film. I don’t know about you, but if I realized I was one of the only real people in a big city, I honestly wouldn’t leave my bed.  

I definitely would not go outside, that’s for sure.  

Despite these slight negative aspects, the film’s atmosphere and tone really make you feel uneasy and awkward in a very effective way.  

Overall, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” demonstrates an established feeling that makes viewers curious as to how our main characters will overcome this seemingly impossible escape. Therefore, I view this film as an underrated sci-fi classic as it puts us in the eyes of the characters as a hauntingly realistic alien invasion overtakes their world.  

My overall rating: 3.5/5 

Drew Coffey can be reached at [email protected] or 217-581-2812.

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About the Contributors
Drew Coffey
Drew Coffey, Reporter, Columnist
Drew is a senior television and video production major. He previously served as a reporter for The News.
Ashanti Thomas
Ashanti Thomas, Photographer
Ashanti Thomas is a senior digital media major. She previously served as photo editor and assistant photo editor at The News.

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