Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) | 4K Blu-ray Review

Kino Lorber is back with yet another MGM catalog title delivered in the 4K UHD format. This movie has had releases from Arrow, Shout Factory and of course MGM themselves, all on the standard BR format. Let’s dig into Kino’s release and see if the jump to 4K is a worthwhile buy.

If after checking out the review, you decide to pick it up, you can find it here*: Amazon

Invasion of the Body Snatchers, 4K Blu-ray cover art

Tech Specs:

Format(s):UltraHD/4K Blu-ray (BD-100)
Blu-ray (BD-50)
Released By:Kino Lorber
Release Date:November 23rd, 2021
Video Format / Codec:4K: H.265 (HEVC)
Resolution:4K: Native 4K, 2160/24p
BR: Full HD, 1080/24p
Digital Intermediate (DI):4K (from 35mm negatives)
High-Dynamic Range (HDR):Dolby Vision (FEL), HDR10
Aspect Ratio:1.85:1
Audio Format(s):English (4K/BR):
DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround (48kHz, 24-bit)
DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo (48kHz, 24-bit)
Subtitles:English, English SDH
Packaging:Dual disc snapcase with slipcover*

*Slipcover may only be available on initial pressing
Region Coding:4K: Region-free
BR: Region A (locked)

Video Review:

Kino Lorber licensed an excellent 4K transfer from the original camera negatives from MGM’s team to create this release and it was approved by director Philip Kaufman. There is definitely a noticeable uptick in detail, sharpness and clarity through the image. Given the filming style, there are various steady closeups but also some hand held action sequences and both are handled well, resolving sharply when static and maintaining a natural (or rather intentionally unnatural) feel the the movement on screen.

This movie was shot on film in the late 1970s and with intentionally very dark scenes, meaning the film stock used was particularly grainy, especially on the aforementioned dark scenes. The good news here is that the 4K scan resolved the heavy grain well, without any obvious use of digital noise reduction to attempt to tame it, and the brighter scenes retain a nice consistent layer of well-formed fine grain. As a result the grain looks very organic without blotchiness or color shifts. As a result the grain remains a positive contributor to the aesthetic of this film.

The most immediate difference between this and past Blu-ray releases was the handling of color. It’s not drastic, but definitely noticeable that this release of the film leverages a bit warmer color grade than the past releases from MGM, Scream Factory and Arrow. Kino Lorber worked closely with Philip Kaufman to create the updated color grade. On the whole I am a fan of this new color grade as the overall darkness to many scenes of this film are more appropriately interrupted by splashes of richer reds, warmer browns and lusher greens which makes it more visually engaging than previous presentations, but without being oversaturated. The Dolby Vision enabled presentation has a strong handle on a dark and challenging film, with deep dark blacks retaining fine details, and a stronger handling of bright whites and specular highlights to break it up. Overall the picture appears much more immersive as a result.
There is an included standard Blu-ray which originates with the same 4K master, but downscaled and graded appropriately for the format. It retains the warmer hue, and overall the detail level is also elevated over past Blu-rays, but it definitely struggles a bit more with the breadth of the dynamic range at play with a noticeable decrease in shadows detail especially in those deeper shadows.

Video Score (4K): 4.8 / 5

Video Score (BR): 4.4 / 5

Audio Review:

Both discs in this release include a 5.1 surround mix and a stereo 2.0 mix which both represent the film well, and both delivered via DTS-HD Master Audio. While I could not confirm it, the mixes do sound to be the same or very similar to what we have received on past releases and both have a different appeal. As this film was one of the earliest to use Dolby mastering processes, there is actually a fair amount of activity in the surrounds and more spatial presentation to the front stage. That said, at times it also can sound a little thin even with the LFE channel in play. The 2.0 mix does sound a bit fuller and natural, but obviously without the benefits of the more engulfing musical score and ambiance-generating surround channels. I found myself flipping between the two, and waffling on which one I liked better. I ultimately settled on the 5.1, but the 2.0 is also very good.

Audio Score (4K/BR): 4.1 / 5

Special Features and Packaging:

Kino did a great job licensing features for this release, with most of the non-exclusive features coming over from the Scream Factory release, a feature or two from Arrow and then several featurettes from MGM. Overall is a really nice blend of offerings and the quality of each pays tribute to this now sci-fi classic. With exception of audio commentaries most of these are found on the standard Blu-ray and presented in 1080p.

The only disappointment is that we did not really get much of anything new, but that’s also fairly on par with other Kino releases as they tend towards licensing over creation when existing content exists. That said, what is here is certainly enjoyable and if you are buying this for the first time, or only own one of the others, you get a taste of features from each.
The packaging is what we have come to expect from Kino Lorber with movie art on the front of a slipcover, reversible case art and the usual “KL” discs on the interior. At times I wish they would put just a bit more into their physical presentations, but I also have to admire their consistency of brand.

Features Score: 4.2 / 5


In general I would recommend this for those who already own, or those buying for the first time. It’s an excellent upgrade in the visual department, solid audio tracks and a nice compilation of features that make this worthwhile for any fan of the film. I personally prefer it over any other past Blu-ray release. Especially given current sales, this is also fairly affordable in the low $20s (as of publishing) and potential for grabbing it for even less even though it recently hit shelves.

Buy/Upgrade Recommendation: YES!

If after checking out the review, you decide to pick it up, you can find it here*: Amazon

Summary and Overall Scores:

Kino Lorber did a great job at putting together this release, licensing a strong 4K transfer, working with Philip Kaufman to refine and grade the footage, and then bundling it with tried and true audio and a solid list of features. Sure, there are some let downs in the lack of an updated audio mix, and nothing new on the special features, but for fans, this is still the best version out there.

Experience Score**: 4.4 / 5  (Very Good)

** Experience score does not take into account the quality of the film itself, just the technical presentation, packaging and included features.

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