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Review: LIFECHANGER (2018) – Fantasia Film Festival 2018

LIFECHANGER, the latest film from writer/director Justin McConnell (CLAPBOARD JUNGLE) had something besides its unconventional plot that grabbed my interest when it was first announced. George Mihalka, director of the original MY BLOODY VALENTINE, was a consulting producer. Now, I’m not entirely sure what that is, but the involvement of the man who directed one of my favourite slashers was a big plus for me.

Drew is a shapeshifter, voiced in narration by Bill Oberst Jr.(HELL’S KITTY, AYLA), who exists by cloning people’s bodies and taking them as its own. The original dies a rather nasty death as a result. As age sets in these transformations need to become more frequent, bodies last hours instead of years. And as the end approaches, he begins to feel the need to make things right with the only person he really loved. No matter how many other lives he needs to take in the process. It’s a quest that will not end well.

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LIFECHANGER is an odd cross between another 80s cult film, THE HIDDEN, a serial killer film and a love story. First seen waking up and disposing of the original of the body, “he” (the body is quite female). The voiceover tells us this is simply a part of survival for him, something done with no regrets or guilt. This sets the tone for a large part of the film. Drew takes a new form, deals with their issues while also dealing with his own, then takes another body and repeats the process.

His coldness about killing and the fact he never stays the same person for long made it very hard for me to care about him. The fact his attempt to reconnect with his lost love is doomed for obvious reasons doesn’t help matters either. What if a total stranger came up to you and claimed to be your ex in a different body? There’s an epilogue after this that provides some nice effects and some attempts at being profound. I’ll leave it to you to determine how deep you find those parting thoughts.

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LIFECHANGER isn’t an entirely bad film. Several of the attacks are well done, and there’s some good interaction at points between Drew and his potential victims. But as a whole, the film never really gelled for me and its outcome seemed a foregone conclusion.

Obviously, others disagree with me as it was chosen to premiere at this year’s Fantasia Film Festival and has already been picked up by Uncork’d Entertainment and Raven Banner Entertainment for release in the US and Canada respectively. And you could do a lot worse than check LIFECHANGER out when they do, but you could also do better.

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