Stay afraid. Scream writer, Kevin Williamson, has teamed up with Robert Rodriguez, the director of Tarantino's Mexican vampire gorefest, From Dusk Till Dawn. The result is far more intelligent than you might dare suppose. As a teenage take on Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, it combines strong characters with paranoid thriller techniques - can I trust her? Is she one of them? - and wicked special effects.

This time, the invasion is quick. No pods. No comfortable cocoon time. It is like hypnosis, or a blood touch: WHAP! And suddenly, for no good reason, they are half fish and need a lot of water.

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The film follows a disparate group who appear to have avoided the mass innoculation of unearthly parasites, while recognising that not all is well in the state of Harrington High. There is the drug dealer (Josh Hartnett), the new girl (Laura Harris), the football star (Shawn Hatosy), the school mag editor (Jordana Brewster), the nerd (Elijah Wood) and the anti-social pseud lesbian (Clea DuVall).

And then there is everyone else, who look at them accusingly, with odd, glazed expressions, or try to kill them.

The film succeeds so well in a genre, where pastiche is the norm, by accepting absurdity as real. Rodriguez is less showy than he was with From Dusk Till Dawn and Desperado. He takes it seriously, as do the young actors, all of whom deserve praise. It makes the difference between shlock horror and interesting fear.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Six students take on their teachers after they begin to suspect they are aliens.
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Director: Robert Rodriguez

Writer: David Wechter, Bruce Kimmel

Starring: Jordana Brewster, Clea DuVall, Laura Harris, Josh Hartnett, Shawn Hatosy, Elijah Wood, Salma Hayek, Famke Janssen, Piper Laurie, Christopher McDonald, Bebe Neuwirth

Year: 1998

Runtime: 104 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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