Invasion of the body snatchers is a 1978 science fiction horror film directed by Philip Kaufman. Released on December 1978, it is a remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), which is based on the novel The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney. The film follows many of the same plot points as the original, save for it is two decades later, and set in the big city of San Francisco, rather than a small town. The film follows Matthew (Donald Sutherland) a San Francisco health inspector who soon finds out, along with his co-worker Elizabeth (Brooke Adams), that an alien plague of pods has descended, and that people are being replaced by duplicates grown from them. As the pods grow, they replace their victims as they sleep, and suck out their memories and bodily fluids, leaving the original person a dried shell. The first person, in the film, to be podded is Elizabeth’s boyfriend Dr. Howell, a dentist. When he seems distant, it leads Elizabeth to the conspiracy, and into the arms of Matthew, who is secretly in love with her. He suggests she see his friend, David Kibner (Leonard Nimoy), a famous psychiatrist with best selling helpful books.
This film works because of a constant sense of paranoia. This paranoia begins to spread like wildfire as several citizens notice a bit of the same. Where the protagonists in Siegel’s film were well-to-do and crisply dressed, the characters in the 78 version are engagingly odd. Unlike the original, the film’s memorable for its use of outlandish special effects. In one startling scene, Brooke Adams is menaced by a dog with the head of a man. The 1978 Body Snatchers is most memorable, however, for the pod people’s habit of pointing and screaming at human escapees. It’s a trait that wasn’t exhibited by the eerily calm invaders of the earlier film, and its use here is absolutely terrifying. The typical unusual ’70’s cinematography is from Michael Chapman. There are some really exciting chase scenes at the end of the film. One of the greatest aspects of this film is its socio-political resonance. It can be interpreted as a state of minority versus majority, us versus them and individualism versus social conformity. The film has a dark brooding atmosphere throughout and there is a sense of realism in this film.