New Invasion of the Body Snatchers? Why We Need Another Remake In The 2020s
On four occasions, Invasion of the Body Snatchers has come along to use sci-fi/horror to comment on current times, and it should do so in the 2020s. One wonders if author Jack Finney had any idea when writing his 1954 novel The Body Snatchers that the paranoid themes of his story would resonate for many generations of readers and viewers since. The book was of course first adapted in 1956 by director Don Siegel, adding the now well-known prefix "Invasion of" to the title.
1956's Invasion of the Body Snatchers was a critical and commercial hit, as was director Philip Kaufman's 1978 remake of the same name, which features a star-studded cast of contemporary and future favorites, including Donald Sutherland, Jeff Goldblum, and Leonard Nimoy. Another remake arrived in 1993, simply called Body Snatchers, which switched the protagonist from an adult man to a teenage girl, lending things more to a younger audience. Then there was 2007's mostly disliked The Invasion, which suffered from a troubled production, despite starring big names Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig.
In four different decades, Invasion of the Body Snatchers has tried its best to provide both an effective alien invasion sci-fi/horror story and an intelligent commentary on the societal issues of the day. Some of the films succeed at those goals more than others, but the current social climate is ripe for yet another remake of Finney's creepy classic.
In the same way that the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers utilized themes of anti-communist paranoia and McCarthyism, and the 1978 remake focused on the societal alienation often found in vast urban environments, a new Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake could shine a light on the intensely divided political culture in the America of the 2020s. The red vs. blue, us vs. them divide continues to get deeper and deeper, and looks unlikely to stop getting worse, no matter if Donald Trump wins re-election or Joe Biden unseats him. Political differences in America - and many other countries for that matter - have gotten so bad that many have come to see their rivals as the enemy, with prevailing over them sometimes being even more important than getting what one wants.
This divided landscape could dovetail perfectly into the setup of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, as an insidious, infiltrating threat could be perceived by viewers as whatever school of political thought they don't belong to. Plus, the changes that come with being replaced by a pod could be compared to someone changing party alignment, with their friends and loved ones stunned by their suddenly different behavior and mood. Obviously, these parallels wouldn't be explicit, as viewers rarely like social commentary in movies that beats them over the head with its message. It would need to be done subtly, while never forgetting the sci-fi and horror aspects that drive the piece. In an era where Democrats and Republicans can often find it impossible to understand where the other is coming from intellectually though, extending that into their thinking being outright alien isn't that big of a stretch.