|Ken McCarthy, star of the original film, cameoing here in the remake|
Foreign invaders manifested in plant form begin to duplicate the human body as soon as the host enters a sleep state, eradicating the original frame and forming a race of emotionless drones. In Don Siegel's original 1956 version, which was concocted as an allegory in response to anti-communist fervor, Kevin McCarthy stars as a small town physician who begins to piece together these mysterious ongoings. When the film was remade by Philip Kaufman in 1978, Donald Sutherland took over the lead playing a San Francisco health inspector in a similar predicament. Both films are intense and wonderfully executed and also function well on their own terms. Siegel's original is a silly, sci-fi 50s B movie played straight and containing great photography, some genuine scares, and a memorable final scene. Kaufman's is a skillful update benefitting from his filmmaking acumen, some new twists on the material and an outstanding performance from Sutherland.