""Invasion!" is two things: Laugh-out-loud funny and deceptively clever. Fans of classic sci-fi flicks like 'War of the Worlds' and 'Day Of the Triffids' will recognize the plot. In response to the arrival of deadly visitors from space, a handsome, brave, all-American scientist becomes our last hope even as romance blooms with the buxom (and not so brave) leading lady. With the arrival of Campbell Scott's Dr. Karel Lamonte in the sleepy town of Exceptional Vista, we as a cinematically literate audience are conditioned to expect nothing but dogged brilliance from this man of science. And that's where "Invasion!" turns us upside down and inside out and starts us down a road we never expected. Lamonte is slowly revealed as a complete idiot. Wherever this Atomic Institute he claims to be from is, it might as well be an asylum. Scott is fabulous in this role, uttering courageous pearls of scientific wisdom that have little or nothing to do with reality. Yet the townsfolk hang off his every word. He is, after all, a man of science. The townsfolk are a real piece of work, too. Cut off from the outside world in a kind of bizarre alternate reality, they have been reduced to obsessing over televison, fishing, and sex. This is not the small town America we expect, just as Lamonte is not the authority figure we expect, but a cynic might argue that it is an accurate portrayal of American society. There is a subversive quality to it all. The message seems to be that we have become so self-obsessed and so detached from the big picture that we shouldn't be surprised if Nature, or God, one day decides to wipe us out and start over. And that we'd deserve it. That a comedy manages to keep you in stitches while sending this message is an accomplishment indeed. I also liked the fact that the movie doesn't seem to have a time or place. No actually country is mentioned, no year is implied. Where and/or when are we, here? I'm assuming that Exceptional Vista (what's with that name?) is in the U.S., but... maybe the point is to globablize the theme. It was made in Canada, so that might be a clue. Anyway... it's a tiny, perfect gem."
_The_ cult film of the new millennium!
Alan Keith Carver | Seattle | 08/24/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a truly remarkable film. Originally released to theaters as "Top of the Food Chain." Absolutely hilarious from beginning to the astoundingly brilliant end, I highly recommend it. Loewi, Scott, and Scott are fall-down-funny as the most bizarre love triangle you are ever likely to see on film. The obsessions the town of Exceptional Vista exhibits toward fishing, sex, and TV are beyond the pale. Much of the dialog is adlibbed, to very great effect. I can't tell you how much I laughed at this wog-boggling sendup of 50's horror films like Day of the Triffids. Buy it today!"
Hilariously Twisted Comedy
Alan Keith Carver | 12/01/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"On first blush, "Invasion!"(aka "Top of the Food Chain") seems to be a pardoy of cheesy 50's Sci Fi films. But dig a little deeper and you quickly realize that it's a twisted, black comedy that defies easy description. Think of David Lynch or the Coen Brothers directing "Green Acres" and maybe you get an idea. The wonderful cast features Campbell Scott, Fiona Loewi and Tom Everett Scott who form one of the more bizarre love triangles to come down the pipe in a while. The film received some rave reviews including TIME MAGAZINE - "A deadpan, on-target comedy" and VARIETY "a provocative, frequently hilarious hybrid which strikes into sharply original territory". If you like your laughs slightly off-kilter, "Invasion!" is for you."
Misleading cover design and title
Garry Messick | Boynton Beach, FL USA | 03/05/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Avalanche Video deliberately retitled this film and designed the packaging to fool people into thinking it's a Zucker Brothers style non-stop gag fest like Airplane! or Top Secret. Rather, Top of the Food Chain (the movie's real title, which still appears on the film itself) is an eccentric, amusing exercise in absurdity. As such, it's not for everybody, but who wants to see movies that ARE for everybody? (I know, plenty of people.) The director, John Paizs, is an associate of Guy Maddin, so if you like Maddin's films, you may like this. Not that this is at all like Tales From the Gimli Hospital or Careful, but those open to intelligent, offbeat movies will probably enjoy it. The rest of you are free to rent Scary Movie, he said, cinema snob that he is."
Campy tounge-in-cheek invasion spoof
Joshua Koppel | Chicago, IL United States | 05/23/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"There are many people who feel a spoof should be at the level of Airplane, non-stop gags loosely tied into a theme. There are less smash-on-the-head spoofs such as many of the films of Mel Brooks. This one is somewhere in between.The town of Exceptional Vista used to be a major manufacturer of machine nuts. But now the factory is closed and the town is dried up. Everyone who could leave already has.But then some interesting things happen. Something falls from the sky and lands near the town, a world famous nuclear scientist arrives for a vacation, all television reception is out, and there seem to be a lot of traveling salesmen about.The aliens have landed and it is up to an unusual cast of characters to save the day. The movie then follows a rather typical 1950's B-movie theme, complete with the aliens being defeated with a simple weapon.Things heat up when the first body is found "in the lumpy bumpy part of town outside of town." Yes, that phrase is actually used. Repeatedly. Much of the humor is subtle. Pay attention to the dialogue (particularly that of the scientist) and the background visuals. Watching our heroes being scared to pass through a bead curtain is just one instance.This is a good spoof, but not one that will appeal to most spoof fans. It is a little to subtle for most although I quite enjoyed it..."