BEST AND WORST REMAKES: #9 – INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS
There’s a moment when Donald Sutherland’s car window gets smashed by an irate restaurant employee. Sutherland, who plays a food inspector, happens upon some questionable matter in the guy’s kitchen, and well, emotions get the best of him.
Like Chinatown, when Nicholson’s nose gets slashed, we have to watch the rest of the movie with an annoying visual imperfection. In this case, it’s a spider web of glass that obstructs Sutherland’s (and our) line of sight. But that’s the brilliance of Invasion of the Body Snatcher 1978. That cracked glass is a metaphor (a cracked view of reality) and a symbolic visual (a forewarning to the creeping tendrils of the pods to come). That’s the kind of detail — deliberate or happenstance — I wish more films had.
Body Snatchers has been remade three times now. The Abel Ferrara one is really good, too, using an angle of militarization and its disconnection of emotions (even Meg Tilly’s “where you going to go” speech percolates from the deep of my memories every so often). The next stab was 2007’s The Invasion, but it didn’t hit any marks for me (Nicole Kidman wasn’t doing so well with remakes — 2004‘s Stepford Wives was unclear on its own identity, bouncing like Tigger between horror and comedy, and settling for neither). I’d say from living a year into the era of Trump, it’s a ripe time for another Body Snatcher reboot. But I’m most likely confusing it with They Live.