Why remake good films when you can improve bad ones instead as Michael Caine observed just before cheerfully accepting a wad of cash to appear in a crappy remake of Get Carter.
Now apparently they've remade Invasion of the Body Snatchers again with the Nicole Kidman pod in the lead (Didn't she learn anything from the The Stepford Wives fiasco?) and a bloke who directed Inspector Rex eps at the helm.
Why not instead extend the franchise sideways like Body Snatchers: The Invasion Continues did?
(1993. Colour. Script: Raymond Cistheri and the inimitable Larry Cohen for screen story and Stuart "Re-Animator" Gordon, Denis Paoli and Nicholas St John for screenplay. Direction: Abel Ferrara. Cinematography: Bojan Bazelli. Score: Joe Delia.)
Body Snatchers was clearly packaged as a low budget, straight to video movie, probably just to exercise the screen option before it lapsed. But producer Robert H. Solo, whose credits range from Russell's The Devils to the 1978 Snatcher remake, assembled the likes of Larry Cohen, Stuart Gordon and Abe Ferrara (if you know whom none of them are, then I suggest you’re a pod person yourself) and probably told 'em "we've got fuck all budget but it's already in profit on video pre-sales so do whatever you like."
And what they did was come up with a film that excellently updated the creeping noir paranoia of the original. Among the clever twists are setting it on an army base where identically clad people unemotionally follow orders whether they have been podded or not and intelligently reworking the rules of the Body Snatcher universe.
Given the low budget, the special effects aren't too bad at all. But Larry, Stuart, Abe et al were all smart enough to realize the best special effect of all is great acting driven by great scripts.
Body Snatchers most powerful moments come from unexpected plot twists and great lines delivered by great actors. Like R. Lee Emery as the Base Commander who just can't wrap his head around what's going on, Forest Whitaker as the Army psychologist who does his head in when he realizes what is going on and Gabrielle Anwar, whose seductive full frontal nude scene takes place under circumstances that'd turn your trouser tent into a sleeping bag for a peanut.
And there's Meg Tilly's utterly chilling and precisely delivered speech that captures the spine of the movie, and which starts like this - "Where you gonna go, where you gonna run, where you gonna hide? Nowhere... 'cause there's no one like you left." – and then it gets even more spooky.
There are some bullshit happy ending explosions at the climax but it still has a suitable ambiguous conclusion. Look we're not talking a milestone in western cinema here but if you like a good creepy SF horror thiller that's much better than its cover art would suggest, do yourself a favour.
GrogFlog's verdict "We'll give 'em hell, Malone! We'll show 'em what the human race is really made of!" 7 out of 10 pods.
Coming soon: More "coming soons".