Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans



Directed by Philip Kaufman.
Starring Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum, Leonard Nimoy,
Veronica Cartwright, Art Hindle, Don Siegel.
Horror/Sci-Fi, USA, 115 mins, cert 18.

Released in the UK on 4K UHD via Arrow Video on 12th February 2024.


In this remake of the 1956 sci-fi classic, Donald Sutherland plays Matthew Bennell, a health inspector who puts his colleague Elizabeth (Brooke Adams) in touch with his psychiatrist friend Dr. Kibner (Leonard Nimoy) after her boyfriend Geoffrey (Art Hindle) starts to act distant around her. At the same time, Matthew’s friend Jack (Jeff Goldblum) and his wife Nancy (Veronica Cartwright) discover a body that bears a resemblance to Jack but still appears to be growing, even displaying the same nosebleed that Jack has. Something strange is in the air…


With one or two slight changes to the plot, such as moving the action away from the small fictional town of Santa Mira to the big city of San Francisco, this version of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS is fairly similar to the original, with the only other notable difference being the subtext of the film, or possibly the lack of one, as the Cold War paranoia of the original is less of an issue here and the sense of being taken over is more literal.


But otherwise, the movie remains faithful to the original; it even has that film’s star Kevin McCarthy make an appearance by recreating his final scene from 1956 (prompting the question as to what his character has been doing for the previous 22 years apart from running into cars). Donald Sutherland gives a strong performance and holds the film together, especially in the climactic scenes where Matthew’s paranoia is almost palpable, and Jeff Goldblum is a likeable presence in his supporting role. It is also fun to see Leonard Nimoy in something other than STAR TREK, although his performance isn’t a million miles from what you would expect, and it is quite clear early on where his character arc is heading. Veronica Cartwright and Brooke Adams also create likeable characters so as well as a strong story the movie has a fantastic cast to bolster the material, making it stand up as an excellent sci-fi/horror movie in its own right.


Released on 4K UHD, the image has been cleaned up quite nicely but, despite some creepy special effects that, thankfully, don’t fall foul to the curse of HD and still hold up, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS isn’t a particularly colourful movie, its colour palette consisting mainly of drab 1970s browns, greens and greys. Still, the reds of car brake lights pop out nicely. With that in mind, and aside from a poster, art cards and a collector’s booklet, the extras are the same as the previous Arrow Video Blu-ray – which consist of interviews with director Philip Kaufman, a panel discussion with Kim Newman, Ben Wheatley and Norman J. Warren, and crew interviews about the audio and visual effects – which prompts the question as to whether this upgrade is worth it if you already own the Blu-ray.


The answer to that is probably not, but if you do fancy a 4K version of this seminal 1970s remake – whether double-dipping or not – then you do get as pristine a print as you are likely to see, and one of the most iconic endings to a horror movie ever that still manages to unnerve after nearly five decades.

Chris Ward.


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Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans