A unique story, stellar acting, great cinematography and impressive special effects make “Lifechanger” a must-see psychological thriller.
Christmas can be a lonely time of year for many people. In the cerebral new film Lifechanger, set during the Christmas holidays, it becomes a tragedy. This psychological thriller will cause you to contemplate the importance of life. Can a person do anything they feel is necessary – as long as it’s in the name of love?
It was so great to sit down to a film and revel in something new.
Not to say some of the subject matter hasn’t been covered in a thriller before, but I love this unique take on the body horror genre. Lifechanger, written and directed by Justin McConnell, is a film that allows you to kick back, enjoy watching, and have fun talking about afterwards. The moral dilemma will certainly stick in your brain for a while!
Synopsis: Drew has an identity problem. Every few days, he has to shape-shift, or face a painful death. He must find someone and make a copy of them. Lifechanger follows one shape-shifter’s twisted quest to repair the damage he’s caused, while leaving a trail of bodies in his wake.
Lifechanger begins with a girl in bed with a rotting corpse. Actually, not even a rotting corpse, a desiccated body that looks like it has been dead for a very long time. The poor soul had the very life sucked out of it. The girl, Emily (Elitsa Bako), gets up and studies herself in the mirror. But we hear a man’s voiceover. (Bill Oberst Jr.)
The person inside this body, and many more to come, is Drew. He was born a monster. A shape-shifting monster that must change bodies frequently or he will die. As he puts it, “It’s repetitive, it’s necessary and it’s lonely.” Drew used to get years out of a body. He could live and be a part of a family, have a job and friends. But now he only gets around 6 hours before he has to find another host.
He lives the life of a serial killer: stalking, killing and leaving dried up corpses in his wake. Bodies he then cuts up, burns and buries in an old barn.
While the rest of the world is getting ready for Christmas, Drew is just looking for his next fix, as it were, before the sores appear and his body starts to fall apart. Oddly enough, watching what he goes through each time, it is hard to fault him. We feel sorry for him in a pathetic sort of way, even when he is killing a person and taking everything from them. When he touches them, he absorbs into their body, personality, memories, dreams. When he had years to spend in a body, it may have been easier on him psychologically, but now he feels immense guilt.
And then there is Julia.
On one of his transitions, he became the husband of a beautiful woman named Julia (Lora Burke), and he fell in love. When the time came for that body to go, all Julia knew was that her husband walked out on her. Drew has now gotten into the habit of watching her, following her, in all his new bodies. She has no idea that people she meets night after night are really Drew inside another body. He wants to tell her, wants her to trust him, but he is always just the next body — and that will be different the following day.
He can never fix the damage. He could allow himself to just die, but that is the one thing he never does. That is the moral dilemma and his choice.
What is incredible about this film is that there is not one actor playing Drew. Every person he takes is him yet still them. The actors’ job in this film was daunting but so perfectly done. You could see Drew inside these people, all diverse in age, ethnicities and sex, and all loving Julia. Kudos to the actors that made this work so well. A standout of these was actor Jack Foley, who played Robert, the last body Drew takes over.
The cinematography was well matched to the dark and dreary mood of the film. The SFX were terrific. There were some great practical effects and cool looking dead bodies. What was done with CGI was done well and not over the top.
The character of Drew is everyone, but no one.
To be him is to die. His life is a tragedy. And at the point where the movie begins, the only thing that keeps him moving forward, killing every few hours, is the thought that he will get to see Julia one more time. That twisted thinking made him continue to do something he thought he had to do, but maybe it was just a choice. Had he made a different choice long ago, his life might have been so much better. Now he will have to live with the guilt forever.
My only complaint is that I could have done with less narration. I think the film did well on its own and we didn’t need it all explained. The twist at the end though, is what really made the film for me. Karma is a bitch, Drew. Sorry. You’ve got to live with yourself. And being immortal — that could be a long time!