Body Snatchers | Chicago Reader

Body Snatchers

Abel Ferrara's 1993 feature is a remake of Philip Kaufman's Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), which was itself a remake of Don Siegel's paranoid 1956 SF classic. For my money, this version doesn't match the Siegel film, though it's a lot scarier and more memorable than Kaufman's low-key, New Agey version. While Kaufman shifted the action from a small California town to San Francisco, Ferrara sets his film in an army compound in Alabama, and until its final moments, when the story lamentably collapses into incoherence, the theme of not being sure whether one's family members or friends have been replaced by extraterrestrial replicas—a notion of conformity rich in sociopolitical overtones—affords a lot of queasy moments. In some ways I prefer Ferrara dressing up genre exercises (here and in King of New York) to dressing down art movies (Bad Lieutenant), and he swims well in these troubled waters. Screenwriters Stuart Gordon, Dennis Paoli, and Nicholas St. John adapted a screen story by Raymond Cistheri and Larry Cohen, though the original source material for all of these movies is Jack Finney's novel The Body Snatchers. With Gabrielle Anwar, Terry Kinney, Meg Tilly, Billy Wirth, R. Lee Ermey, and Forest Whitaker. 87 min.

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