The unsurpassed, original version of Don Siegel’s classic science fiction movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) has been digitally remastered, restoring it to its former glory on the big screen. The story depicts an extraterrestrial invasion that begins in the fictional California town of Santa Mira. Alien plant spores have fallen from space and grown into large seed pods, each one capable of reproducing a duplicate replacement copy of each human. As each pod reaches full development, it assimilates the physical characteristics, memories, and personalities of each sleeping person placed near it; these duplicates, however, are devoid of all human emotion. Little by little, a local doctor uncovers this “quiet” invasion and attempts to stop it.
The film is set in the paranoid USA of the 1950s; however the underlying social criticism is still highly relevant in 2015.
One by one in their sleep the inhabitants of a pleasant American town are overpowered by giant seed pods that transform them into unfeeling clones of their former selves. The aliens in the film do not originate from another planet: they are family members, loved ones and close friends who start to threaten and infect one other. Once transformed they are unresisting duplicates of their former selves, under the control of an unknown power. Doctor Bennell is an outsider and loner who has not yet been transformed. He decides to fight back against the docile, emotionless clones and devotes himself to the struggle to hold on to his feelings and individuality. But will that be enough?
The tightly written screenplay transcends the science fiction genre. It was filmed with verve by master cinematographer Don Siegel at his very best. The remakes in 1978 and 1993 lacked the complexity of Siegel’s original and, some feel, cannot match it.