Main cast: Joel Courtney (Zach Henderson), Calum Worthy (Randy Foster), Andi Matichak (Kayla Shepard), Katherine McNamara (Hannah), Cam Gigandet (Deputy Josh Haywood), Mason McNulty (Joey Shepard), Terry Dale Parks (Pastor Greg), Vito Viscuso (Larry Shepard), and Jennifer Pierce Mathus (Beth Shepard)
Director: John Murlowski
In the age of remakes and reboots, Assimilate sneaks quietly into the scene as a teen-friendly reboot, adaptation, or whatever of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. This is immediately made apparent in the opening scene, when a young lady is attacked by an incoherently shrieking thing that eventually morphs into a perfect double of herself.
Who cares about that dead lady, though? We focus on three youngsters instead. Zach Henderson and Randy Foster are the local losers if you ask the other kids. Before they graduate high school, these two decide to do a YouTube series on their hometown, so they go about with camcorders to film things and bug people with questions. Their only ally seems to be the cheerleader Kayla, whom Zach has a crush on. As you can imagine, they soon discover that something is not right with their neighbors. These people look like their neighbors, but they don’t act like it. They seem… almost alien at times, oh dear. Will anyone believe them, however, before things get out of hand and everyone is doomed?
Yes, it’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers all over again, but with a more action-driven bent, as the body snatchers this time around are far more aggressive in getting their victims. While they are never really shown actually killing anyone outright, they are the fast-running zombie-equivalent of the old body snatchers, going so far as to ambush, give chase, and even flip over the homes of their victims. Also, this movie gets rid of the “Don’t sleep… or else!” thing, as the body snatchers here are bug-like things who only have to bite their victim and take in the victim’s DNA to become a clone of that victim. The end result is more of an action-driven horror flick than a psychologically-driven one.
The cast is generally adequate, although I do wonder what happened to Cam Gigandet’s career. Why is he slumming in a series of B-grade flicks these days? Let’s hope he does all this out of love rather than, you know, having not many other options. Back to this movie, the cast is fine. The movie has a few illogical moments, and it’s hilarious how it shows the body snatchers milling about famous landmarks in various countries in botched-looking studio cut and paste to tell me that, look, those are other countries, but still, things aren’t too bad here. There is also some illusion of nudity here and there in not-at-all-sexy context, although it looks to me that the cast members in question are likely wearing some kind of nude body suit rather than being actually naked.
The thing is, it’s hard to get into this movie because it’s still a bit too faithful to the Invasion of the Body Snatchers formula, so there isn’t much here that will be a surprise to people who have seen that movie. People who haven’t seen or know of that movie may find this one a more interesting movie, but me, I find it a competent but still rather forgettable rehash of sorts.
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