‘The Invasion' falls short of ‘Body Snatchers' terror

2008-10-02 08:05

JUST the title of the book The Body Snatchers, on which The Invasion is based, has been enough to evoke in the imagination all that is powerful and terrifying about horror movies, even for those who only know the story by reputation. Hold on to that thought because this latest remake does its best to wipe out this legacy and purge every last frisson from your body.

The story is updated to the present, and an alien bug comes to Earth on a space shuttle that disintegrates on re-entry (shown through iconic news footage) and so is showered over a vast area.

The bug colonises the human body and meshes with its genes to produce an emotionless, vacuous zombie. Nicole Kidman plays a psychiatrist on the run from these changelings, whose mission is: total world domination. Daniel Craig is her ally in trying to reach safety and rescue her son in the process. Neither manages to overcome the narcotic effects of a script that rakes unsuccessfully over the embers of history looking for the ghost of fears past.

The impact of the novel in its time was that the invasive bug was a metaphor for communism, whose scourge would remove individual will and condemn humans to a state of collectivist anonymity. That's a very tired old story line whose sting has long been pulled by the ideological turmoil of the past half century. *

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