Body Snatchers ★★★★

"Where you gonna run? Where you gonna hide? Nowhere. ‘Cause there’s no one...like you...left.” Abel Ferrara returned to his horror roots with this third film version of Jack Finney’s story, which, like Philip Kaufman’s 1978 film, is less a remake than a rethinking. Ferrara shrewdly sets his movie on a military base, where alien-induced conformity would not only go unnoticed, it would be encouraged. Gabrielle Anwar is Marty, a teen who arrives at the base with dad Terry Kinney (an EPA biologist), stepmom Meg Tilly, and kid brother.

Ferrara doesn’t waste time on the origins of the pods; he gets an undercurrent of paranoia going very early — looking at the impassive faces of the soldiers, we figure any of them or all of them could be pod people. Anwar is most appealing; Meg Tilly, after years of being pleasantly dazed in movies, is now malevolently dazed, giving a freaky, scary performance (she’s the one who intones the above-quoted line). In a handful of scenes, Forest Whitaker is effective as a doctor who gets to deliver the time-honored line, “How do you know my name?” Fast, fun and creepy, though only marginally connected to Ferrara’s other work.