They Are Us (Invaders From Mars, 1986)
One night, young David witnesses a spaceship landing just beyond the hill. After his father returns from checking it out, he seems…different. His father seems detached. Like he is trying to determine how to behave. David uncovers an invasion from the martians and must try and figure out who to trust. His teachers? The Military? His fellow students?
Based on the 1953 film, Hooper returned to sci-fi quickly after his space vampire movie Lifeforce. A decidedly more mainstream film, this falls squarely into the territory of the paranoid alien invasion films. And it is pretty effective in that regard. David soon finds his parents and classmates under the influence of the martians, and his only chance for help from Linda, the school nurse. They eventually find help from the military, who lead a retaliatory attack.
The film is very lush and colorful, with Hooper embracing vibrant reds. The creature effects by Stan Winston are great and the Martians are utterly unearthly.
The script is very effective. In a few brief moments, Dan O’Bannon establishes how close David is with his parents, so that we can tell that something is wrong a scene later when his dad has been taken over by the martian invaders.
There are some great performances here, with a solid group of actors including Karen Black and James Karen.
Really, the only thing that frustrated me with the film was the choice of ending. It is frustrating with it’s choice to muddy the reality of the story. But aside from that, I found Invaders From Mars an enjoyably film from Tobe Hooper’s filmography.