15 Movies Where People Are Getting Replaced In Their Own Lives

List Rules
Vote up the body-snatch movies that make you feel genuinely paranoid.

Storylines involving people being replaced in their own lives have become commonplace in sci-fi and horror movies, though the explanation for the phenomenon varies from film to film. Whether the imposter is the result of an alien invasion, robot uprising, or some form of doppelgänger, they are malevolent in nature. These narratives instill a sense of paranoia, as the outward appearances are often identical before and after the replacement, resulting in the characters questioning if anyone can be trusted

Often in these films, a character’s physical body is either overtaken or replaced by the new being, though sometimes the details are kept purposefully unexplained. Ambiguity in the plot allows for allegorical interpretations, beyond the obvious fears of being replaced in our own lives. It can also be helpful in representing a societal distrust of others, as anyone can be an imposter when the outward appearance remains unchanged.


  • When young housewife Joanna Eberhart (Katharine Ross) moves with her husband and children to the town of Stepford, CT, she observes the other women in the area all behave in a similar manner. They are all dressed flawlessly and obsessed with the physical appearance of their homes and lives, catering to their husbands in a subservient manner. The men of the community all belong to the Men's Association club run by its president Dale Coba (Patrick O'Neal), and Joanna begins to suspect they are responsible for altering the women’s behavior when she discovers many of them were once fiercely independent.

    Although Joanna initially believes the changes are due to a form of mind control from a tainted water supply, it is eventually revealed that the wives have been replaced by robot copies. The robots have been created to combat the independence of women following the popularity of feminist movements, allowing husbands the opportunity to have complete control of their wives.

    Available On:

    free

  • 2
    50 VOTES

    Brooklyn photographer Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) is nervous about meeting the family of his white girlfriend Rose Armitage (Allison Williams) because he is afraid they will take issue with the fact that he is black. In reality, Chris's presence is entirely welcome for nefarious reasons relating to his race. The Armitage family is involved in a cult-like organization known as the Order of the Coagula, which allows the wealthy citizens in the area a warped form of immortality.

    These elderly members have their brains transplanted into the bodies of young Black people, allowing them to appropriate the physical appearance of their marks while keeping the minds of the victims subdued through hypnosis. Rose is responsible for dating young Black people and bringing them home to be used for this purpose.

    Available On:

  • In the small town of Santa Mira, Dr. Miles Bennell (Kevin McCarthy) is approached by numerous citizens who are under the belief that their relatives have somehow been replaced with identical-looking impostors. At first, Bennell dismisses this as mass hysteria, until he discovers large seed pods growing visually identical copies of humans. These pods are the result of alien plant spores that have fallen from space to quietly take over humanity. Not only do they replicate the appearance of humans, but they also have the ability to assimilate physical traits, memories, and personalities. The only thing they are unable to imitate is human emotion.

    Invasion of the Body Snatchers was also successfully remade in 1978, along with looser adaptations released as Body Snatchers in 1993 and The Invasion in 2007.

    Available On:

    subscription

    free

  • 4
    20 VOTES

    Based on the novella by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Double follows a meek office worker named Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg) whose life is slowly taken over by the arrival of a doppelgänger. The man who looks identical to James begins working at his office, going by the name James Simon (Eisenberg again), succeeding in all of the ways that he has failed. James is more assertive and charming, leading him to succeed at work where Simon has failed.

    James also attracts the attention of their co-worker Hannah (Mia Wasikowska), for whom Simon secretly harbors feelings. As Simon pushes back against the identical invader, he discovers that any injury one of them sustains affects them both. Simon uses this to finally get rid of his doppelgänger, though the existence of the identical man is never fully explained.

    Available On:

    subscription

    free

  • 5
    29 VOTES

    When Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong'o) goes on a family vacation to Santa Cruz with her husband (Winston Duke) and children (Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex), their cabin is invaded by evil doppelgängers resembling each of the members of the family. Although they manage to escape, the Wilson family discovers other families have also been attacked and replaced by their own doppelgängers. These lookalike counterparts refer to themselves as "the Tethered” and claim to be connected to the citizens by a shared soul.

    They are genetic clones created by the government to control the citizens but have decided to rise up and take over, after having lived an underground existence for decades. The tethered doppelgängers hope to free themselves by killing their human counterparts.

    Available On:

  • 6
    24 VOTES

    When her special forces husband (Oscar Isaac) falls into a coma after exploring an area near a fallen meteor, biology professor and army veteran Lena (Natalie Portman) agrees to join an expedition to investigate why he was the only survivor. Upon entering the expanding area surrounding the meteor referred to as “The Shimmer,” Lena and the other members of the team discover all of the plants and animal wildlife have mutated in inexplicable ways.

    When they finally reach the spot where the meteor landed, Lena finds a camcorder with footage implying her husband has been replaced by an alien able to replicate him identically. Although it initially seems that Lena is able to outsmart an alien that similarly replicates her appearance, the film’s ambiguous ending suggests she may have also been replaced.

    Available On:

    subscription

    free