‘The Lifechanger’ is a stylish ‘body horror’ from director Justin McConnel which sees us follow the survival exploits of an organism who must switch bodies to continue its survival.
Despite the opportunities for gross out carnage (often associated with similar genre films), the plot of ‘The Lifechanger’ is a rather restraint love story. Whilst the story evolves throughout, exploring various facets of the human condition as it goes, the main plot focusses on the organism’s infatuation with a young lady who, we are told through a series of monologues, provides the organism with the nurture it has searched its long and lonely life for. Naturally, its difficult for it to really get close, considering it must switch bodies and personas so frequently.
Cast any comparisons to any other gorier ‘body horror’ films, this is a very tame entry in terms of its violence. There are a couple of scenes when things get gross by TV drama standards, but, aside from an interesting ‘birthing’ scene in the films later acts, it’s all pretty mild stuff, plenty inferred, but little shown.
With that out of the way, I would like to focus on what works to make the dialogue, emotion driven film engaging and ultimately worth a recommendation.
First off, the look. This film is really well shot and graded. Its moody but elegant. Despite the film’s restraint in terms of its violent content, its clear thought went into every shot. The locations are diverse and the use of lighting (mostly natural) plays an important role in ensuring the tone of scenes conveys exactly what it needs to.
The acting is solid, the script equally so. I was sceptical at first that the constant changing of bodies would ruin the flow, after all said and done, doing so essentially introduces a new lead character every 20 minutes or so, but the films attention to detail with regards to each host’s mannerisms and behaviours, plus a consistently voiced monologue providing exposition ensured a much needed consistency and ensured the concept remained plausible (within the context of the film of course).
The pacing on the story is perhaps not quite as consistent, and whilst I would praise the script in general, some of the conversation between characters become a little too pretentious, new age/hipster and, well a bit cheesy. I felt at times the writing tried a little too hard at times to ensure every line of dialogue in certain scenes offered ‘deep meaning’, acting as metaphor to ensure the film would be seen as much more than just another horror film.
These parts hampered the pace, just a little, but enough to take you out of the main story.
With pacing in mind, there are, however, some creative methods to provide some well received moments of tension and further intrigue. As you would expect, with all the body swapping, its not long before the creature leaves in its wake a trail of corpses, and with a story which is leaves its conclusion wide open up-until its final act, you never quite know how things are going to turn out. As a concept, the story is simple yet perfect. As a festival film I’ve no doubt it would linger in the mind far longer than most.
Overall, ‘Live Changer’ is a well put together indie film which I could see appealing to a number of audiences. Its well worth a watch and offers up a familiarity yet nice contrast to usual genre films. My final review score is based on my own preferences and I will say that, what I call pretentious, others might lap it up – if soul searching is your thing, then slap on another half-star to the score above. Either way, there is no doubt ‘The Lifechanger’ is well worth your time checking out.