I know I spent a lot of my movie watching life avoiding old films. Invasion of the Body Snatchers was one I knew the story well, but had never watched. It is available on Amazon Prime and I’m very glad I watched it. Invasion of the Body Snatchers is definitely a Must See film.
Miles Bennell (Kevin McCarthy) is a doctor of a small town returns home from a conference only to find that many people have been complaining of an illness. Only, the illness isn’t with themselves, but their loved ones who just don’t seem quite right. He discovers that the population of the community is being replaced by emotionless duplicates from outer space.
The story works so well because of our inability to know. It’s easy to see how living in the world of the movie would be so terrifying. Anyone and everyone could potentially be an alien. Even knowing the direction the plot would go didn’t stop the film from instilling fear within me. It’s the universality of the story that makes this film hold up in the horror genre so well.
The film elements that really stood out to me, though, was the camera work. The shots in the film often left me stunned. They weren’t sweeping vistas of the landscape like in westerns, but they were so effective in establishing the tone. The scene where Miles investigates the basement of Becky’s house was my favorite. From the moment he pulls up to her house and jumps out of the car and runs to the door it seemed to be a single shot. The camera movement followed him around the corner and to the basement window. Once entering the low lit basement a match is used to increase the drama of the moment. This is where we get our second look at a pod person and the movie really gets going. I loved the entire sequence and that is when I really fell into the movie and its characters.
Final Thoughts on the Body Snatchers
If you have skipped this film because it’s old or black and white I suggest you right that wrong like I did. It’s not only a great story but an extremely well made film. It manages to hold up extremely well even by today’s standards. The Invasion of the Body Snatchers manages to strike fear without even needing to do anything too extreme. It offers the idea of hopelessness and the ideas of our limited knowledge to our own perspective.