Home » Film Festivals » Fantasia 2018: ‘Lifechanger’ Review: Dir. Justin McConnell (2018)

Fantasia 2018: ‘Lifechanger’ Review: Dir. Justin McConnell (2018)

by Kat Hughes

Lifechanger review: A murderous shape-shifter resorts to extreme measures to be close to the woman he loves.

Lifechanger review by Kat Hughes.

Lifechanger review

Lifechanger tells the story of Drew. Drew is a shape-shifter, a creature that has to consume the life-force of others before assuming their appearance. Once upon a time he could inhabit a new body for years, but recently can only manage a few hours before his new vessel begins to rot. Constantly flitting from one body to another could become disorientating, but not for Drew. He has one constant in his life, Julia (Lora Burke), the woman with whom he is in love with. As he tries to get ever closer to Julia his condition starts to worsen and he finds his secret deathly close to being uncovered.

Whilst shape-shifters have had a place in television for years, being a staple ‘monster’ on the show Supernatural, there haven’t really been any on the big screen. One possible reason for this is that having a main character whose face is constantly changing can be confusing for audiences. Writer / director Justin McConnell skirts this issue by having the voice of Drew (Bill Oberst Jr.) narrate the story, enabling the audience to link that disembodied voice to the body on screen. The other technique McConnell employs is through the use of Julia, the magnet that Drew, in all his guises is drawn too. You soon begin to learn that whoever she is talking to is likely our shape-shifting being.

Lifechanger review

Extreme sci-fi / monster plot aside, the main theme of Lifechanger is love. It’s Drew’s love for Julia that drives him, and whilst this could be viewed as romantic, here it’s just a touch creepy. Rather than being a sweet ‘lovey dovey’ affair, Lifechanger offers a glimpse at the darker more destructive power of the emotion. Drew is driven by his need to be near Julia to the detriment of everything else, including his survival. It’s a risky manoeuvre, but one born out of his obsessive necessity.

The downfall of Lifechanger is down to the frequency of transformations; a lot of the film feels a little repetitive. We watch him pick, kill and assume several identities, but they don’t really offer much difference to each other. It’s a minor niggle, but one that slows the pace of the film down and takes us away from the relationship with Julia for too long.

Lifechanger review

A unique look at life as a monster, Lifechanger brings to life a new sympathetic creature. There may be a few stumbles along the journey, but McConnell’s imagination could take him into some very interesting places in the future.

Lifechanger review by Kat Hughes, July 2018.

Lifechanger screened as part of the Fantasia International Film Festival 2018 line-up. It will also screen in August as part of Arrow Video Frightfest 2018 in London. 

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