Fear factor

Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds churns up an emulsion of suspense and horror that engulfs you with the gray relentlessness of a low-grade fever. This is not the kind of thrilling, soaring adventure Spielberg created in Jaws or Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom; it’s a cheerless piece of visceral manipulation. As you watch the extraterrestrial invaders erupting out of the guts of the New Jersey streets, stalking their victims and obliterating them with heat rays, or snatching them off the ground with metallic tentacles and depositing them in nets, sucking them one by one into feeding tubes, the experience can’t exactly be called pleasure. You feel encased by the movie. I can’t remember the last time I felt so relieved to see a picture end.


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