On paper, the idea of a machine affecting the human psyche and turning them into violent zombies seems like an intriguing one for a genre movie. In fact, if you think about it, it would be rather terrifying if something like this actually happens in our world, particularly for those who already live under fascist regimes. Netflix’s latest offering, the Polish science-fiction thriller Soulcatcher, hinges on this idea, but instead of coming up with a subversive, truly affecting science-fiction with a very real horror angle, the movie chooses to follow a very generic way. The result is something that we have already seen so many times in different contexts. It is the same good versus bad, with some predictable twists and standard, well-choreographed action. But nothing more than that. A movie is always a director’s medium of expression, but it is actually sad to see a great idea get squandered by mediocrity. We are still going to dissect Soulcatcher in this article, nonetheless.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In ‘Soulcatcher’?
A group of armor-clad men, presumably military, land on an unidentified island. Their mission is to acquire some photographs from this woman, Eliza Mazur. Something shady is going on on the island, and a man named Yousif Mamadov is behind all the evil. Eliza’s photographs happen to be the only proof against Mamadov’s wrongdoings. The leader of the group, Piotr, makes it clear to his brother Kiel that the main agenda is to get the photographs. Extracting Eliza is only a secondary objective. We got to give it to the director for putting us right in the middle of the action instead of setting up and telling the audience what was going to happen. It’s an altogether different matter that the promising start doesn’t lead to anything remotely good.
What Happens To Piotr?
Things get really strange upon reaching the island, as the group comes across a lot of dead bodies, including the man who was supposed to be their guide during the mission. A woman takes them close to Mamadov’s operational headquarters, near which they meet Eliza, who confirms that she has the all-important photographs in her possession. But all of a sudden, people start to attack the group like rabid dogs. We get a glimpse of Mamadov, who seems to be handling a big, crude-looking device that resembles a giant military tank. The device affects people to the extent that they become zombie-like. Piotr gets directly affected, and as a result of that, Kiel has to kill his own brother. He gets rescued by Krzysztof, Kiel’s friend who happens to be a pilot. Eliza refuses to leave and reveals that she has to stay because her father, a professor named Wiltord, happens to be the inventor of the device and is currently stuck at Mamadov’s camp. Eliza plans to rescue her father by drawing the attention of the Polish military.
What Is a Soulcatcher?
One good thing about the movie is that it doesn’t take long to get to the main point. The device made by Eliza’s father was made with the intention of something as noble as curing cancer, but it fell into the hands of evil and turned into something entirely different. I am sure you all were wondering how exactly that happened, but the writing is not a strong suit of this movie, so there is no point going into that.
Kiel is interrogated by Interpol officer Artur, who is currently investigating the deaths of high-ranking Polish politicians at the hands of two former soldiers who went rogue for some reason. Artur believes something sinister is going on, and Kiel is his key to finding out what it is. However, Kiel refuses to work alongside Artur because he doesn’t believe in his theory. He is soon rescued from the hands of Artur by a Politician named Jan.
What Is Jan’s Agenda?
It is not surprising to see that Jan turned out to be the one who hired Piotr and Kiel for the mission. Unlike Eliza, Jan is under the impression that Professor Wiltord is as guilty as Mamadov, and that he very much intends to harm people with the Soulcatcher. It is quite obvious at this point that Kiel and his team members, Harbir, Storm, and Bull, have to go back to the island to execute the next phase of the mission, which is to eliminate both Mamadov and Wiltord and get the Soulcatcher device to Jan.
Kiel and his team move forward with the mission, and with the help of Eliza, breaking into Mamadov’s camp turns out to be quite easy. An obvious romance blossoms between Eliza and Kiel, about which we couldn’t care less. Anyway, instead of killing Professor Wiltord as per Jan’s order, Kiel and his team rescue him, and they all go back to Jan. Then comes the twist you all saw coming right from the moment Jan’s character was introduced. Of course, Mamadov is only a pawn in the evil scheme, which is being run by none other than the mastermind, Jan himself.
What Happens To Soulcatcher In The End?
Jan turning out to be a fascist pig would have been an effective twist if this movie had better writing and editing. Unfortunately, that is not the case here, as the more this movie moves forward, its blandness becomes intolerable to deal with. As you would expect, Kiel and Co. get captured by Jan and his team of bad guys. But since Kiel is the hero, nothing bad can happen to him. Hence, we have the return of Interpol officer Artur, who had been wisely keeping track of the whole thing ever since Kiel got hijacked by Jan. Artur and his team make it a point to rescue Kiel and his team, but during the process, Krzysztof and Bull lose their lives, while Storm and Kiel get severely injured.
Hellbent on taking revenge on Jan for what he has done, Kiel teams up with Artur. Given this is the final mission, Soulcatcher does everything to raise the stakes high enough for the audience to care. Kiel battles a soulcatcher-affected former soldier, Prochyra, another obstacle in the path set by Jan. Wiltord sacrifices his life and kills a lot of Jan’s men to help Kiel. But the evil politician somehow manages to get away and taunts Kiel about the fact that he would become prime minister anyway, irrespective of Soulcatcher, as the machine has now done its job. However, Kiel reveals to Jan that their conversation is being recorded by Artur and will be revealed to the countrymen, which abolishes any possibility of Jan acquiring the power he craves. In fact, it is later implied that Bull is actually alive and he is going to punish Jan for what he did.
Before drawing the curtains, Kiel manages to destroy Soulcatcher with a bomb. While I don’t mind the existence of a movie like this, it is baffling to see all the money from the Netflix production value getting wasted on this amount of mediocrity.