Yet another effective take on Jack Finney’s 1955 novel, this time transplanted to an American military base by director Abel Ferrara. Given the source material’s themes of oppression and obedience, the military setting is maybe a bit on the nose, and there are certainly a few weak performances here and there that mar some of the tension. However, at its core this is a curiously effective, quietly eerie paranoid nightmare of a movie, with several genuinely unsettling scenes that keep things interesting. Among the otherwise stiff acting, both Christine Elise and Meg Tilly’s charismatic, distinctive performances stand out: Tilly, in particular, goes from warm and ebullient to menacing and creepy with the same believable authenticity, and she delivers the movie’s most memorable scene (“Where you gonna go…”) with aplomb. Overall the movie might too much of a slow burn for a lot of genre viewers, but it quietly weaves a spell on the patient viewer over its running time.
Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)