Picks and Pans Review: Strange Invaders

updated 10/03/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/03/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Take a few notions from The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, a couple more from Close Encounters of the Third Kind and add a touch or two of Hitchcock paranoia—from, say, The Thirty-Nine Steps. That, in effect, is what director Michael (Strange Behavior) Laughlin and writer William Condon did in concocting this amiable if pointless movie about aliens from space who take over a small Illinois town. Though the film's gimmicks are hardly novel, it does have a likable cast. Paul (Melvin and Howard) LeMat plays an entomology professor whose ex-wife and daughter are threatened by the creatures. Nancy (Blow Out) Allen, offhandedly funny and charming, is a sensationalist tabloid reporter who has made up a story that's too close to the truth. Louise (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) Fletcher is a government official from an agency that made some sort of pact with the aliens when they first landed 25 years ago. Kenneth Tobey, a hero in such '50s space monster films as The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, plays one of the creatures. Nobody is likely to dress up as a strange invader for Halloween, and you don't care whether they phone home. But as a breezy diversion, this film should hover around for a little while. (PG)

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