The Invasion

This movie is in a hurry.

It’s evident in the editing, a post-MTV mess, and the script, which simply dumps answers whenever it needs things to change on a dime so that the plot can hit its major beats, to its tepid and cowardly attempts to have something to say about the state of the world, which insist on being heard without ever slowing down to think of anything meaningful to say. It’s a complete mess.

The casting is all wrong and the acting is all over the place. The score feels classic in a way which is devoid of ambition. It all seems to want to be ‘a movie’ very bad. Something that will stick in your memory not as a coherent piece of creative art but as a thing you once saw with your eyes and heard with your ears.

However, there’s something consistently compelling about the bodysnatchers story that I think buoys this film’s head above water long enough for us to get to the end without actively hating it. It’s been done better in the other two versions I’ve seen (’56 and ’78) and I’ve heard it’s done better still in the ’93 version which I look forward to watching someday. But even if this is the weakest bodysnatcher movie, it is hardly the worst movie I’ve seen from this year, or this often hollow era of filmmaking, or even this genre of brain dead action dud.

Sometimes the moments are creepy. Sometimes the stunts are impressive. The weight with which a gun fires feels real and serious (even as the heroine takes every opportunity to toss any gun handed to her to the floor after firing a few rounds; this is peak ‘shouting at the TV’ character writing). The use of dozens or hundreds of extras moving as if they’re only imposters of human beings has its intended effect. There’s something so genuinely unnerving in the concept of the invasion of the bodysnatchers that there is a pretty high floor beneath which any aspiring remake may not be allowed to fall.

And that floor wholly props this film up. If the concept were any other I’m sure this would be as bad a movie as its other late-2000s contemporaries. As it is, it’s just middling. It’s acceptable. You can sit through it. But you’ll likely be thinking about better uses of your time throughout.

This is a copy of the review on my Letterboxd profile. There, I rated it 5/10.

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