Donald Sutherland decides to investigate when he notices that the people of San Francisco don't seem to be themselves. He lives to regret his decision. Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum and Leonard 'Spock' Nimoy may or may not be part of an alien conspiracy in Philip Kaufman's genuinely unsettling remake of the 1956 sci-fi classic.
Although it coarsens the classic 1956 version of the story, this remake of the chilling tale of alien possession is still a tense thriller in its own right.
Director Philip Kaufman pays homage to the first version of the yarn (in which a weird form of plant life descends on earth and takes over human beings when they fall asleep), not only by his use of the director (Don Siegel) and star (Kevin McCarthy) of the original in cameo roles, but also by his use of angled shadow, reminiscent of Forties and Fifties work.
Kaufman shows real skill in the way that everyday things are made to carry a sense of menace, and his film moves along at an unflaggingly exciting pace. The ending carries a considerable shock charge.