Body Snatchers Reviews
I found that the picture takes a bit too long to set up. I understand that every plot point needs to be introduces thoroughly and all, but considering this is the third version of the film, and the material has been imitated and ripped off countless times, you probably already know where it's going in the beginning, and you'll grow restless waiting for everyone to catch up to you. Once it gets started there are a lot of tense parts that will keep you on your toes and some real surprises as friends and foes become indistinguishable from each other. The film really convincingly portrays the body snatchers and their pods and the special effects alone make the movie worth a watch, even though the very end of the film is anti-climactic and contains one very bad special effect that's embarrassing to see. There's a really chilling moment when you realize really how dire the situation Is that's permanently ingrained in my mind. Just thinking about it makes me uneasy, and no matter how many times it's made fun of, it still gives me the shivers. It's worth seeking out. (On Dvd, November 6, 2012)
It's not that bad though. There are some neat special effects with the pods and humans deflating. Forest Whitaker shows up briefly to ham it up. Not his best performance, but it's pretty funny. The build up is pretty nice with the little kid feeling awkward in his daycare and the soldier freaking out in the bathroom. The pacing is good and it doesn't feel too slow or overstay its welcome. I also liked the explosive finish. It was something different that we don't see in these body snatchers movies. If only the rest of the movie went in that sort of direction.
It's also a very cheap looking movie though. The entire thing looks like a made-for-HBO movie from the late 80s/early 90s. There's also a sequence with a little kid being thrown out of a helicopter that is so laughably bad looking. Half of the kid's body is cropped out right in the middle of the frame. I'm assuming the filmmakers thought nobody would notice with it being so dark and home video quality not being that great to notice the difference (like a lot of early 90s movies with special effects [ie Ninja Turtles 3]), but they didn't know that digital quality would come around years later and show all their errors! It was glorious and had me laughing and rewinding just to see it again.
Overall, it's a middle of the road movie that is a big step down from the original movies. It's not as bad as some of the body snatchers ripoffs (Seed People) and it's probably better than the Nicole Kidman remake, but I would still say to skip it.
With Stuart Gordon as a co-screenwriter and Abel Ferrara directing, this should have been a much more twisted take on the familiar tale. There are great moments here that showcase the filmmaker's taste for the bizarre, like those nasty tendrils of alien origin that creep into the victim's orifices and the looks at inside the bodies as the transformations take place. That's creepy, unsettling and something we've never seen before. I would have liked a lot more of that.
The casting hurts the film, however, with Terry Kinney an especially bland leading man. Gabrielle Anwar is pretty enough, but there's a reason her career never really took off. In fact, surprisingly enough, the best performance here belongs to Meg Tilly, who gives the film the best moment in the scene where she confronts her fleeing husband. Her "where you gonna go" speech is terrific.
Setting the film on a military base is a novel idea, but it hurts the film as well because military personnel are already so regimental that it's hard to discern when they become aliens. There's a lot wrong with "Body Snatchers", but there's enough good here that I can recommend it. It's just very familiar.