“Lifechanger” Shows the Frightening Cost of Immortality
What if you could live forever but with one caveat – you had to kill someone and take over their body? Would you be able to do it? The main character in Lifechanger does just that. Shapeshifter Drew has been trading bodies for decades but recently the new bodies Drew acquires are decaying more quickly than usual. This could be due to age or to something deeper. As his story unfolds, he races from body to body to try to avoid the inevitable while continually visiting the woman he still loves in an effort to make things right with her.
Creator Justin McConnell presents an engrossing take on common themes of love, obsession, and the fear of death. Much of the film is narrated by the true voice of Drew, done beautifully by the talented Bill Oberst, Jr. The words drip with emotion as we see the extreme actions Drew takes to survive. McConnell guides the audience on Drew’s journey in such a way where at first you will feel sympathy for Drew and the drastic measures he takes to avoid rotting. As the story moves along, you realize what type of creature Drew really is and your sympathy turns to his former love Julia, played by Lora Burke. The audience realizes the futility of what Drew is trying to do before Drew does. By the end of the film, I wanted Drew to rot for how blind he was to his actions.
The whole cast does a fantastic job portraying Drew. They maintain the continuity of the character by replicating Drew’s small gestures and other nuances. Lora Burke puts in a solid performance as the focus of Drew’s attention. The audience feels the heartbreak of all of the tragedy that has occurred in her life as well as her strength to keep going and move on. It was interesting to see how she interacted with the different versions of Drew. Each one got her to reveal a different aspect of herself, giving the audience insight into her character. McConnell’s script had as many dramatic elements in it as horror and thriller elements, which helped give the film a number of layers.
There is a point in the movie where it would seem that Drew may be successful in his mission to once again be with his love. During this time, the body of Drew doesn’t rot nearly as quickly. It is implied that love can heal, but love under false pretenses can eventually cause rot. The body switching felt like a metaphor for how people sometimes change who they truly are to be with the one they love, causing loss of self. All of these ideas are conveyed with depth by everyone playing the shapeshifter.
Lifechanger has plenty of horror elements to go along with its drama. Nearly all of the effects in the film are practical, and they were terrifying. Especially at the moment when Drew had to shapeshift. After watching this film you may never want to hold hands with someone again. There is gore in the film, but it used to help move the plot and not just for shock value.
If you are looking for an indie film with depth, tension and horror, Lifechanger is for you. It is a strong commentary on how passion can turn to obsession that eats away at you and how you can only delay the inevitable. The ending of the film really takes an original, unpredictable turn that will have you discussing its true meaning far after the credits role.