The Invasion

The Invasion


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

There are stories that refuse to die. Dracula is one. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers is another. Metaphors for mind control are too vibrant to bury.

This latest remake of the 1956 classic sci-fi thriller, based on Jack Finney’s novel The Body Snatchers, alters the concept of aliens in human form that was satirised so beautifully in Men In Black, to something more akin to 28 Weeks Later, in which one bite from a feral zombie immediately changed a man into a vicious cannibal – no waiting time, no incubation period - as if contact with infected blood caused instant cellular meltdown.

Copy picture

It starts with the explosion of a space shuttle and the contamination of its debris, which is The Quatermass Experiment, repeated with a double helping of 21st century paranoia. Senator Tucker Kaufman (Jeremy Northam), investigating the crash, cuts his hand on a piece of shuttle wing and before you can say “Sam Raimi” he’s walking straight, talking platitudes and being terribly polite. Within days, it seems, the streets of Philadelphia are filled with boring, politically correct cloneoids, who take offence at anyone who isn’t them. They might be neo-cons; they might be Scientologists on medication; they might be missionaries from the Church of Same.

Carol (Nicole Kidman) is Tucker’s ex. She’s also a psychiatrist and now single mom to Olly (Jackson Bond). It’s Halloween, trick’r’treak time, with all the neighbourhood kids dressed up and doing the rounds. Why is it, you wonder, that in middle-of-the-road, middle-class Hollywood pictures, the houses are so posh, as if only indy filmmakers forget to do the washing up.

This is Kidman’s movie, since she dominates the screen in a tight sweater and grey skirt, running like hell, or walking slow not to draw attention. Carol has a doctor friend (Daniel Craig, criminally underused), with whom she doesn’t sleep. Why not, for God’s sake? He’s the only shaggable non-zom on the planet.

In spite of a virulent pandemic, spreading like wildfire across the U S of A(liens), the plot centres on a tall, slim, thirtysomething shrinkette, who’s worried to bits about her boy, because he’s staying at dad’s for the weekend and dad’s acting funny, which means… Also, dad has been sick over mom, which is the method of contamination – charming – and if she falls asleep, she’ll become one of Them.

Run, stay awake, run harder, stay awa…zz…longer until an antidote can be found.

Director Oliver Hirschbiegel borrows CGI animation of internal organs from the CSI franchise and uses flashforwards and other cinematic tricks to enhance the tension. The problems are more fundamental, however. Despite Kidman acting her face off, the new improved-not storyline is rubbish and The Infected are about as scary as a convention of chartered accountants.

Reviewed on: 14 Oct 2007
Share this with others on...
The Invasion packshot
A psychiatrist stumbling upon an alien invasion fears that her small son may be the only one who can stop it.
Amazon link

Read more The Invasion reviews:

Andrew Robertson **

Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel

Writer: Dave Kajganich, based on the novel by Jack Finney.

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Jeremy Northam, Jackson Bond, Jeffrey Wright, Veronica Cartwright

Year: 2007

Runtime: 99 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


Search database: