The Puppet Masters (1994)

Bring the 1951 novel THE PUPPET MASTERS into present-day and there
should be at least one major character in the course of the story who
chimes in the line "oh, like one of those BODY SNATCHERS movies?"
Unfortunately, not once in 108 minutes does anyone on-screen make a
reference to either Don Siegel's 1956 classic or the two remakes that
followed.  And that's too bad, because no one in THE PUPPET MASTERS
should be acting as serious as they are.

Sure, the first forty minutes are ultra-creepy as Donald Sutherland
leads his crack crew of scientists through the "infested" hamlet of
Ambrose, Iowa.  The veteran actor-- who also appeared in the '78 remake
of BODY SNATCHERS-- is appropriately stone-faced while poking around a
town "taken over" by alien parasites.  And, as told from the scientist's
POV for a change, these first few scenes have an edgy, matter-of-fact

But as the story wears on and more and more people are "compromised,"
Sutherland's stone-face never lifts.  Nor does the film's.  Instead of
fun we get fight scenes, and chase scenes, and one "runaway" helicopter.
Ugh.  All too much for the scope of this simple, spooky story.  (Rated
"R"/108 min.)

BOTTOM LINE:  Cut thirty minutes and you'd have something here.

Grade: C-

Copyright 1994 by Michael J. Legeros

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