It’s time to look at a bit of an older film with The Body Snatcher. It’s not quite as thrilling as the alien version I saw a while back. The films are unrelated but with the title being so similar I felt like I definitely had to mention the other one. This film’s more of a look at how problems that you avoid tend to snowball until you find yourself right in the middle of it. Had Donald gotten out as soon as he realized that something was shady he would have been fine. Sticking around was not the right move.
The film starts by showing us Donald, a promising lab student. Unfortunately he is not all that wealthy at the moment and will not be able to continue as a student. Professor Wolfe decides to keep Donald by having him become a lab assistant. This dynamic works well enough and together they dissect a lot of bodies and really lead a good science session. Something seems to be off with how many bodies they always have on hand and a mysterious guy by the name of John Gray appears and seems to have a lot of influence over Wolfe. Donald will have to watch out of he will really be in over his head.
Here’s the problem with Donald. The film expects us to buy into the fact that he is oblivious to how shady the business is until well into the film when he recognizes one of the bodies as a lady he walked past during the day. How did he think they were getting so many bodies? It’s not like this is a huge hospital with global connections. The town actually seems very poor from the locations the movie showed off. I mean, I wouldn’t expect him to jump to the assumption of murder right away, but at the very least he shouldn’t be too shocked.
Then once he learns the truth Donald goes along with this because he is worried that this will incriminate him which will cause a lot of trouble. Clearly he has his priorities straight. In some ways Donald is a good guy and he did want to help the little kid get her ability to walk again. It’s just outweighed by the fact that he is so complicit in what is going on. By the time he makes any kind of move you can’t help but feel that it is way too late.
Multiply all of those negatives by 10 for Wolfe. He is deep in the dirt with this business. He wants to get out, but John will never allow that since he can blackmail Wolfe over an old court case forever and ever. Wolfe finally thinks to take him down for the count towards the end of the film, but so much damage is done by then. Either way Wolfe was already a villain so I feel like he should have really hurried to take this guy down. Better late than never, but factor in how he didn’t want to help the girl walk and this is definitely not a guy you could root for.
John Gray is really the main antagonist in the film. He’s pretty strong and really had the other characters on the ropes here. You can definitely respect his power, but otherwise that’s about it. One of his wins was also a little suspect since the guy he was fighting was a true sucker. How do you go to someone’s house to blackmail them because you found out that they are a mass murderer….and then don’t expect a fight? I don’t really know how that would work out. It just doesn’t add up….
So this is a bleak film where all of the characters are either evil, helping evil characters out, or totally oblivious. The Mom and her kid certainly didn’t do anything wrong. I don’t blame the kid for not trying to walk for a little while either since I’m sure that was a pretty scary experience. It’s hard to just get up and start walking around after not being able to for so many years. It definitely didn’t help that the doctor was rushing so much. I do think the kid was a little unreasonable during their first meeting though. He hadn’t actually done anything yet so it was strange that she didn’t want to talk.
I suppose the writing isn’t terrible and yet it isn’t engaging so it’s hard to call that a positive. The movie also doesn’t fall into the animal violence trap at least. The fight scenes are definitely sub par though. There isn’t really any choreography as it’s just the characters going for the choke and the eye attack each time. Neither attack option will really do much to help the movie out.
We get one decent visual as Wolfe starts to crack near the end. The body next to him begins to shift into someone else. You know that it is in his mind the whole time, but with the thunder in the background and the heavy rain it works really well as an intimidating backdrop. It’s a shame that the movie couldn’t have had more dynamic moments like that because it really would have made a good difference. That or the main characters being more likable.
Overall, The Body Snatcher is not really a film that worked for me. It’s a little on the dull side and the plot just isn’t engaging. There isn’t a whole lot to keep your attention here and that’s probably due to the slow pacing. By the time events actually happen it feels like you have already figured things out a long time ago. If this film sounds interesting then check it out, but I can’t really think of anything in particular that makes me think “You’ve gotta watch this film!” There’s no solid soundtrack or good characters. There’s no mystery or any moments that will make you think this was super clever. It’s just a film going through the motions.