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(Review originally written at 17 June 2006)

You gotta love the '70's! It was really the golden age of cinema. '70's movies were real, gritty, they had a sense of realism, had an unusual and often revolutionary style of movie-making. Many of the best movies ever made are from the '70's. Not sure if "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" classifies as one of THE best movies ever but it certainly is one of the very best alien invasion movies ever made and therefor remains still one of the very best movies out of its genre.

The realism turns out to be a perfect combination with the horror and science-fiction elements in the movie. It makes the movie haunting and makes us really feel with all of the characters. Their fear becomes sensible and their actions understandable. Nothing 'big' or 'impressive' is ever shown and very little is explained in the movie. The movie and how the events unravel are totally told from the main characters view point. None of the main characters are 'heroes' and instead they are just normal every day persons. Those two elements are the main reason why this movie is so realistic and haunting to watch. It also is the reason why alien invasion movies made present day fail to impress ("Independence Day", Spielberg's "War of the Worlds") They are all told 'big', with special effects and lots of violence with big name actors in them. They are made for entertainment and most of them surely also work well as entertainment, especially in my opinion "Independence Day" which I, unlike many others, find to be a very entertaining and good movie to watch. Those movies are surely good and entertaining enough and its not the cast or crews fault that those recent movies fail to impress the general audience, it's just that those movies were made in the wrong decade and it misses the '70's touch that makes the movies so gritty, raw and realistic to watch.

"Invasion of the Body Snatchers" is told slow and things happen in a low pace. Since nothing is really explained as the movie unravels, you never really fully understand what is happening and why. It gives the movie an almost paranoid kind of atmosphere, which helps to make this movie more of an horror movie than a science-fiction movie, even though the story itself is obviously fictional. The story to be honest is quite far fetched and perhaps even ridicules at moments but due to the realistic and slow way it is told, none of this matters. It helps to make this movie one of the most haunting ones ever created, also due to its unforgettable haunting ending that is one of the very best out of cinema history, it really is!

The typical unusual '70's cinematography is from Michael Chapman. Leave it up to Chapman to give a movie a realistic look and feeling. ("Taxi Driver", "Raging Bull", "The Fugitive")

The cast of the movie is great. Like every good genre movie from the '70's, it has Donald Sutherland in the main lead. He plays an average, not perfect guy, which again adds to the realism and our involvement with the character. Other fine roles are being played by Veronica Cartwright, Leonard Nimoy and Jeff Goldblum in one of his first really big role.

"Invasion of the Body Snatchers" is way more than just another average, unlikely alien invasion movie. It's brilliantly told, crafted, acted, thoughtful, haunting and realistic. '70's film-making at its very best and it makes this movie still one of the very best out of its genre.

10/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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