This Canadian shocker comes out running and doesn’t slow down much in its short running time. The opening scene is a real attention-grabber and it keeps up its consistency throughout.
The problem with high concept films of this type is the idea swallows any chance for a through line and, despite the odd wobbles that don’t completely escape that commonality, we come out the other side holding in our head a dramatic story that had purpose. The writing keeps it in line but it is the main performances, especially Lora Burke with her naturalistic style and Jack Foley who only enters the film at the conclusion but makes quite an impact with his uber-hipster look and affecting approach, that make it all pull together. You get a feeling that, inside all the swapping characters, we do have the essence of one spirit.
To not give too much away, as this is a twisty affair which would be spoilt by going into detail, imagine ‘Predestination’ (a film which touches on shared tropes, but a mostly unseen stunner which is honestly not just better than this film, but better than most headfuck films made in the last few decades) meets Linklater’s grunge fuelled ‘Slacker’ with some of the grue of Cronenberg’s body-horror. ‘Lifeforce’ and the various versions of ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ are referenced: metamorphosis is the theme and transference the carrier.
It makes you think a little and entertains wildly in places, if going a little too fast-paced to really stick to you, or explore matters in depth. In fact there were moments where it felt ‘Lifechanger’ could come off the rails. In the end though that could have added to the impending doom and diminishing returns aspect of someone on the edge of something as it raced along, and the eccentric, unpredictable love story.
Nods to a bygone age with practical FX were certainly not detracting points either. Society and other Screaming Mad George effects came to mind.
Add an extra point for the closing credits song, ‘You don't deserve a goddamn thing for Christmas’, a funny little belter and much unexpected, as was some of the off-the-wall yet subtle humour placed throughout.
Also, check the thank you list for a who’s who in contemporary horror cinema. Nice to see Adam Mason as consulting producer; he appeared to disappear of late. And is that THE Chris Alexander of Fangoria fame doing songs for the film?
'Lifechanger' is out now on digital HD