Review by Elliott
As a general rule of thumb, I don’t watch many older movies. Not for any particular reason, it just doesn’t happen often. For several years, my dad has recommended this movie to me. So the other day when I was looking through Amazon prime, I was surprised to see this pop up. Despite my skepticism, I decided to give this classic sci-fi horror flick a try. The version I will be reviewing was made in 1956, but it was followed up with a remake in 1978. I’m not sure how different they are, but I liked this version well enough that I’d like to watch the remake as well.
- Kevin McCarthy as Dr. Miles J. Bennell
- Dana Wynter as Becky Driscoll
- Directed by Don Siegel (Dirty Harry and Escape from Alcatraz)
- Kevin McCarthy and author Jack Finney have always denied the rumor that the story is a statement against McCarthyism and Communism; they just saw it as a thriller. DirectorDon Siegel, however, believes that the political references to Sen. Joseph McCarthy and totalitarianism are inescapable, even though he tried not to emphasize them.
- During test screenings, much of the film’s original humor and humanity was cut when the audience found it difficult to follow and laughed at all the wrong moments. The studio insisted on edits because it wasn’t policy to mix humor with horror.
- Kevin McCarthy would later reprise his role of Dr. Miles J. Bennell in the remake Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) and Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003).
- Only $15,000 of the budget was spent on special effects.
Held by the police as a raving lunatic, Dr. Miles Bennell recounts to a psychiatrist the events that have turned his life upside down. He returned to his small town the previous Thursday, having been called back from a medical conference by his nurse, who was being flooded with patients. He arrives to find that most have canceled their appointments, but the few cases he does have all have the same story: someone close to them is acting strangely as if they had been replaced. Consulting some of his colleagues, he finds that these types of reports have been coming in all week and they conclude it must be some type of mass hysteria. However, when his friends Jack and Teddy Belicec show him a partly formed body they have uncovered in their home, he begins to realize that there may be some truth to the wild stories he has been hearing.
– Written by garykmcd (IMDB)
At first glance, you wouldn’t think that this movie would have much to offer application wise. But that is certainly not the case. I’d like to consider the idea of genuineness. As Dr. Miles and Becky began to understand want was going on it became important to know who was changed and who was not. Since the aliens took the form of people it was almost impossible to know if they were alien or human. The only real difference was that the aliens had no emotions. So how does this apply to us? Are we genuine about our faith or is it just facade. Jesus warned the Pharisees about this very thing in Matt. 23:27-28:
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
The pharisees appeared to be genuine, but they were not. Sometime our genuineness can be seen by others but sometimes it’s a matter of the heart. In Is. 29:13 it says:
And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,
In the last third of the movie the aliens stop hiding their identity and it can clearly be seen by their action who and what they are. Our actions often time display the condition of our heart. We see this in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 and James 1:26.
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive,disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.
If we are genuine, our heart and our actions will correspond and we will be able to be a light to the world as it says in Matt. 5:16.
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Going into this review, I wanted to be as objective as possible. That meant taking into account the fact that this movie was made almost 50 years ago. The dialogue definitely shows its age, but I was pleasantly surprised by the “special effects” and the cinematography. The only real special effects were of the pods and when the aliens/people were hatching. It was simple but effective and didn’t feel cheesy as I had expected. I really like the cinematography it often felt like I was watching something much newer. This may be my naivety coming out, but I never think of old movies as cinematic. One thing that I find funny is that this use to be considered a horror movie. By today’s standards this probably wouldn’t even scare 4 year old. So overall I enjoyed the movie, I wouldn’t say it’s great, but it certainly exceeded my expectations. I would give it 3 stars and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in older sci-fi.
Thanks for reading!