Body Snatchers (1993) DVD Review

Is there a more classic sci-fi tale than "Invasion of the Body Snatchers?" Ok, maybe there are a few, but it still remains one of the more well known stories over 60 years later. The original story has been reworked into film three times, this version here simply titled "Body Snatchers." Though far from a true classic, the movie provides a few great horror moments that make it a worthwhile ride. Steve Malone (Terry Kinney) moves his family to a southern military base to work as an EPA consultant. His daughter Marti (Gabrielle Anwar), second wife Carol (Meg Tilly), and step son Andy (Reilly Murphy) all take diffrently to the move. However, little Andy knows something isn't right only a fw days after arriving. Eventually, everyone becomes aware of the situation but it may already to be too late. The entire base has been taken over and only a few remain. It's a race to escape from the base with anyone who may be left and hopefully put an end to the alien takeover. Little time is spent here with the explanation for the aliens. Everyone going into this movie knows exactly what is going on and knows it's only a matter of time. There is even less time spent on the usual "Are you one of them?" dialouge that could quickly turn nauseating. This is a briskly paced horror movie (only 87 minutes) that gets right to the point. There are plenty of gore effects and gratouitous nudity that is to be expected as well. This one adds in some truly horrifying moments as well. Meg Tilly has a great part as the stepmother-turned-alien and puts on a trully chilling performance. The final sequence in the helicopter is a surprising twist as well. The special effects are decent for a low-budget production and the direction by Abel Ferrara is great. A few sub-plots about toxic waste go absolutely nowhere, but the always enjoyable R. Lee Ermey makes up for it in a small role. There is nothing here that will will blow you away, but it's an enjoyable way to spend an evening for the horror fan. (*** out of *****) The film is presented in either full screen pan & scan or widescreen (roughly 2.35:1) on opposite sides of the disc. This is a fair presentation of the film, soaked in a bright red tint for the opening half hour. The transfer holds this all together with no bleeding of any kind. Grain is apparent throughout the film and numerous scratches get annoying in a few sequences. Still, there are some great scenes that show off stunning clarity, but the grain still hampers the overall transfer. (***) The disc offers only one sound option, standard Dolby Surround. Surprisingly, this is a fairly active mix with some decent ambient effects and nice left-to-right stereo usage. It's not completely immersive as there are plenty of missed opportunities and a complete lack of bass, but this is a nice mix for an older film. (***) Warner has included no extras on the disc. Nope, not even a trailer. (no stars) While this is not a film that will go down as a classic, it's a fair update to the classic original that fans will most likely enjoy. This could have turned out a lot worse but with a short running time, it keeps the pace moving non-stop. The disc leaves much to be desired but it is highly unlikely that this will ever get a full special edition treatment. If your a fan of the film, this will likely be the best way to go for some time.

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