I actually had some reasonable expectations for this film but ultimately it fell flat. Goke just wasn’t able to really live up to my expectations because the film decided to go the vampire route instead. Things got a little gritty and instead of cool hand to hand action scenes the humans were just bickering a lot. You can’t win like that, that’s for sure.
The movie starts with a bunch of people on an airplane. They’ve all got big plans for the rest of their lives and are enjoying the pleasant cruise when there is a bomb scare. Sugisaka along with attendant Kuzumi try to find out who has the bomb but then the plane crashes. The heroes are now isolated in a desert region and have no way to salvage the ship. They also must deal with the fact that one of the passengers may have a bomb. Additionally, they know that nobody is coming to save them after turning on the news and hearing the reporters confirm this. One of the passengers quickly breaks the radio though since it was being too helpful.
So that’s a fairly interesting story dynamic you’ve got there. These passengers who each have their own story and values must put aside their own differences in order to band together. There is just one problem and unfortunately it is a big one. There is also a body snatcher from hell that is here to destroy them all. The creature arrived in some kind of meteorite and quickly takes control of a passenger. The only way to know who is the alien is to look for someone with a huge scar on their face and the characters are too busy fighting with each other to put up much of a fight.
Goke started off on the wrong foot as the movie opens with a bunch of birds dying. See, Goke’s influence is able to stir up the wildlife around him which forces the birds to take down the plane. It’s hard to say what the exact purpose of this is. Is it merely the birds growing afraid or Goke mind controlling them because he wanted a vessel? If you think about it, there isn’t even much value in having a vessel since their spaceships are already strong enough to really do whatever they need to do.
Once we’re on the island, the film makes sure to show us that none of the characters are likable which leads to a Lord of the Flies kind of scenario. Sugisaka is easily the character with the strongest moral compass. Ultimately he wants to make sure everyone is able to walk out of here in one piece. I’ll give the guy props for trying to keep everyone together. I just disagreed with one of his decisions when he said nobody should even think about leaving the ship. Hehe…lets just say I’ll talk more about that later.
Kuzumi was also good. She did her best to help out and make sure things were going well. These are the only two reasonable characters. Next up you have Neal who is the sole American in the film so that’s always fun. She is very dramatic the whole time and cries a lot which unfortunately makes things easy on Goke. I ended up losing respect for her when she was on board with the plan of sacrificing some of the crew for her own personal survival. Yeah that’s the kind of thing that is not going to go over well in the slightest.
Mano is a senator who is really unreasonable throughout the film. He’s always telling people to hurry up and get him out of here when it’s clear as crystal that there isn’t anything anyone can do at the moment. Why is this such a foreign concept to him? The guy is also having an affair with Tokiyasu’s wife. Mano is also very quick to betray the others and does this numerous times throughout the film.
Then you have Tokiyasu who willingly threw his wife at Mano in order to try and secure a deal for his company. That tells you the level of ethics that this guy follows. Noriko is also content to go along with this plan which is unfortunate as well. In horror films being unfaithful usually ends up being disastrous for all parties involved and this movie is no exception.
There’s Momotake but he doesn’t last long. The guy is actually happy about the plane crash because he has a theory that humans will always devolve into their base instincts and he wants a chance to prove this. Yes, great for him…but that’s naturally going to only lead to one conclusion right? Momotake talks a big game but he still seems a little surprised by what he had predicted.
Finally there is Sagai who seemed to be reasonable for most of the movie but then he also decided they needed to start sacrificing people. So he went down the drain. It’s a common theme in the film that at the end of the day you can’t trust anyone. Ultimately everyone will betray you and it’s just a very cynical way of looking at things. It would have been nice if they weren’t all so corrupt.
The idea of the cast slowly all going mad as they’re trapped in a small plane with no water or food can definitely be interesting but it has to be handled really carefully. I saw a film sort of like that (I forget the title) where the characters are locked in a house by an invisible force and all start to go crazy. That one was handled better to be sure even if it had some issues.
Now you would think the alien plot would automatically fix things right? Well, I wouldn’t say that the process is automatic because these aliens are basically vampires. Yes, that’s one of the last things this film needed. The movie isn’t afraid to get rather violent with these interactions as the humans are slowly drained into oblivion. Each of these scenes certainly drags and the movie ends up falling into the classic horror hole of being violent for shock value. Throw in all of the animal deaths from earlier and this movie did not know what it was doing.
Even the design for when the aliens inhabit the human hosts is not very fun to look at. They have to make a giant incision in the person’s face which looks like an obvious weak point. The vampires also aren’t very fast so you know that they can be outrun if the humans would stop tripping and looking back. Just keep on going full speed and you’ll be okay. Why turn back like that? All you’re doing is speeding up your own demise!
Okay, so a lot happens by the end of the film and I won’t spoil the twist since it’s like something out of an M Shyamalan film. Of course the heroes crashed somewhere so a few of them suggest running outside for a while to get to the next town. This idea is slammed down but what if they had actually gone? The ending gives you a look at what would have happened and it does make the characters look pretty bad. From the start I thought it was a terrible idea to stay put. Sure the outdoors are dangerous but you have no water or food so isn’t it better to leave now while you have energy than later?
The one thing I will say for the film is that the ending is pretty hype. Things start accelerating a lot quicker than I ever would have suspected and really changes the whole context of what’s going on. I would actually be reasonably hyped for a sequel. The issue with this film…or at least one of them is that we were just focused on the wrong people. I want to see the rest of the planet now which should make for a much more interesting narrative.
Overall, Goke, Body Snatcher was disappointing. Honestly I was expecting it to be significantly better than how it turned out. The aliens being vampires is such an awful idea and making the characters this unlikable was not a good decision. Whenever any film decides to make the whole cast villains for some reason I have to shake my head because that will never work. It’s just not a good idea because you need someone to sympathize with and this completely removes the chances of that happening. If you want to watch an interesting alien film then you have much better options that you can take a look at. This one is best left to the remnants of history.