Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978) Ending Explained – Is Matthew a Pod Person?

Plot Summary

Are your friends and neighbours acting strangely? If so, it might be that they’re simply having a bad day. But then again, it might be that the people you thought you knew are now alien duplicates.

That’s the premise of the 1978 movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the second adaptation of the 1956 book The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney. In both the movie and the book, a parasitic alien race abandons their dying planet and travels to the Earth in the form of small seed pods. 

These plant-like creatures have the power to put humans to sleep and make emotionless copies of them while they’re in a coma-like state. Over the course of the movie, most of San Francisco falls prey to these creatures, though a few survivors remain. These include Nancy Bellicec (Veronica Cartwright) and Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland) who manage to stay one step ahead of the alien invaders.

In the movie’s final scene, Nancy calls out to Matthew from her hiding place. She is taking a massive risk as there’s a possibility that Matthew is no longer the person he used to be.

Is Matthew a Pod Person? Let’s take a closer look at this classic movie. 

How does the movie begin?

At the beginning of the movie, we see the alien seed pods fall towards Earth. Shortly after, we are introduced to Elizabeth Driscoll (Brooke Adams), a laboratory scientist at the San Francisco Health Department. She brings a flower home from the lab and awakens the next morning to discover her boyfriend is no longer behaving normally. He is cold and distant, causing Elizabeth to believe he might be an imposter. 

Elizabeth confides her theory to her friend Matthew, little realizing that the reason for her boyfriend’s change in personality is the flower she brought home. This must have carried the alien seeds that then took over her boyfriend before creating his duplicate.

Matthew advises Elizabeth to speak to his psychiatrist friend David Kibner (Leonard Nimoy) but when they drive to meet him, they come across a hysterical man who warns them of danger. The man is then killed in a hit-and-run accident while surrounded by emotionless onlookers. Could these be Pod People? That would appear to be the case, meaning Elizabeth’s boyfriend wasn’t the first person to fall victim to the alien menace. 

What happens to Elizabeth?

After meeting David, Elizabeth discovers other people have had similar experiences to her. We are then introduced to Jack Bellicec (Jeff Goldblum) and his wife Nancy who own a mud spa in the city. When Jack (or rather his duplicate) is found in an embryonic state at the spa, signifying a takeover by the aliens, Matthew goes to Elizabeth to warn her and finds a semi-formed duplicate of her near to where she is sleeping. 

Matthew manages to rescue Elizabeth and Jack and this causes their duplicates to disappear. Elizabeth deduces the flowers she discovered are somehow involved and examines one of them at her office. During her examination, she realizes there are no other plants matching its description. As viewers, we already know this, as we are aware the plant is of alien origin. 

As the movie progresses, Elizabeth, Matthew, Jack, and Nancy, encounter people who have been replaced by duplicates. They nearly incur the same fate while hiding out in Matthew’s apartment but manage to save themselves by destroying their embryonic replacements. 

The group are then pursued by the aliens who have taken the form of their comatose victims. Matthew and Elizabeth are able to evade capture when Jack and Nancy create a distraction. They then take refuge at the health department.

A short while later, Matthew and Elizabeth are ambushed and injected with sedatives by the duplicates of Jack and David. This means their friends are now sleeping or no longer alive. 

The alien copy of David speaks to the pair and explains the aliens’ plot to take over the human race. Thankfully, Matthew and Elizabeth are able to escape, in part enabled by the speed they had taken previously to enable them to remain awake. 

But Elizabeth isn’t able to stay awake for long. After she and Matthew find evidence of the Pod People’s plan to send alien seeds overseas to populate other cities, she falls asleep and becomes yet another victim of the aliens. 

Does Matthew become a Pod Person?

A distraught Matthew flees Elizabeth’s duplicate and burns down a warehouse belonging to the Pod People. He destroys several plants in the process and kills some of the aliens before he is once again pursued by more duplicates.

At the end of the movie, Nancy, who has managed to stay hidden, sees Matthew wandering around with duplicated humans. He appears to be acting like one of them in an effort to stay hidden in plain sight. Nancy, who is glad he might still be alive, calls out to him.

But when Matthew turns to face her, the unthinkable happens. He points to her and emits a high-pitched scream, which is evidence that the person Nancy thought was Matthew is actually a Pod Person signalling her presence for the other aliens to capture her.

We don’t find out the fate of Nancy or the rest of mankind but it can be assumed at the end of the movie that humanity is doomed to extinction.


Read More: 10 Movies Like Invasion of the Body Snatchers

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