Time: 80 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
SYNOPSIS: After a professional conference, hometown physician Miles Bennell returns home to Santa Mira to encounter a waiting list of patients. Some are apparently "not themselves," at least according to relatives. Bennell investigates and finds one victim morphing into a replica of his friend. Soon after Bennell and his renewed love interest Becky discover unusual "sea-pods" that incubate these newly morphed souls. Eventually, the entire town succumbs to the "disease," and Miles and Becky become the final guardians of humanity who must run for their lives to preserve civilization.
BOTTOM LINE: All horror/thriller director's should be forced to sit through this movie before they film a single frame of their own. With no special effects or creepy monsters, but armed with an exceptionally tight screenplay, Don Siegel makes a horror movie that stays with you for days. It's tale of alien domination is so subtle, like the lead characters, you'll find it hard to believe. However, the slow build creates enormous tension, leaving you paralyzed with disbelief as the awful nature of the takeover is revealed. Are Miles and Becky the crazy ones or are the townspeople really being replaced by emotionless clones? As the cloned town leaders try to convince them (and us) of the positive nature of their fate would a life devoid of feelings really be so bad? your skin is crawling, desperate for them to escape and hold onto their true selves. It's amazing how one simple monstrous idea can create such total terror. The mediocre acting and preachy plot are buoyed by taut editing and sinister cinematography. The fact that they're not allowed to sleep is a brilliant ploy to add even more desperation to their exhausted efforts to escape. The final scene, which was added by the studio, takes a bit of the punch off the ending, but fails to blunt the film's power. Subtle and scary, something none of the remakes have been able to pull off.