Lifechanger is an absolutely mindblowing horror film that had its world premiere at Fantasia 2018. Everyone should make sure they watch this indie horror masterpiece which only gets better towards the ending!
Of course, passion has always been better than big budgets, which is why indie films have become increasingly successful.
Still, whatever the budget, you need a good cast and a great story to create a good movie. Lifechanger has both – in excess even! This is one of those movies that could’ve ended earlier and been great, but managed to add an ending that made it absolutely mindblowing.
A lead character with many faces
Since the lead character is a form of shapeshifter, we get many actors portraying this one person. The way writer-director Justin McConnell achieved this, is by having the person’s original voice as the narrator.
So whenever he (because the person was born a boy) changes into a new body, we still hear the thoughts with the same voice. The voice is none other than that of Bill Oberst Jr (Heir).
We never actually see Bill Oberst Jr. on screen even though his face is pretty recognizable to most horror fans. Still, his voice is pretty iconic as well, and he delivers a stellar performance in Lifechanger.
And even though you feel for this person, you cannot ignore the fact that he is actually a serial killer. Whenever he changes into a new life (takes over another person), the person originally inhabiting the body does die. Also, the effects of taking on a new life last shorter and shorter. This means he needs to take the life of a new person more frequently.
Simply perfect casting
One of the reasons you do emphasize with the main character is because we get to hear his thoughts. He tries to hold on to every “new body” as long as possible. He also tends to be very kind to the people he knows – especially this one woman, since he’s in love with her.
There’s also a dog that recognizes him no matter which new form he takes. A very sweet and important detail that works so beautifully.
For the record, every actor is perfect as the lead characters. You would expect a few weak performances (or just one weaker than another), but they all bring something new to the character.
The only constants in the story are the bartender, the dog, and the woman our lead character is in love with. Her name is Julia and she’s portrayed by Lora Burke, who delivers a heartbreaking and yet very warm performance.
Perfect use of special effects
Another thing Lifechanger does, that won me over is the use of special effects. Yes, this movie uses good old special effects makeup that we know and love from iconic and classic horror movies of the 1980s.
This is much more along the lines of Sam Raimi (Evil Dead) and John Landis (An American Werewolf in London) than crappy CGI. Something that recently ruined part of the experience of watching the Korean horror thriller The Mimic.
And look, I know that some good CGI does exist, but special effects or VFX (digital visual effects) are so much better.
Honestly, with few exceptions, the physically built special effects (known as SFX) always hold op better than CGI (Computer-generated imagery). And yes, VFX can include CGI, but when that’s the case, the integration tends to be much better.
In any case, Lifechanger uses SFX quite a lot, but only when necessary. It’s never used just to shock you. Instead, it’s an integrated part of the storyline and you can’t help but be amazed at how good it is.
Lifechanger for Justin McConnell
As mentioned earlier, Justin McConnell wrote and directed Lifechanger. He also produced the movie just as he has produced movies in the past such as the Minutes Past Midnight horror anthology.
He also wrote and directed the wraparound segments, which tied together the segments of the anthology Galaxy of Horrors. In fact, he has written and directed quite a few short films and a few feature films in the past. Still, if there’s any justice in the world, Lifechanger should be an actual life-changer for Justin McConnell.
For me, the ending is one of the best horror movie endings, I’ve seen in a long time. Not only is the very last part of the ending simply mindblowing (in the best of ways).
The last 15 minutes or so managed to amp up the intensity with exquisite execution. And while you’ll probably feel for the lead character, you can’t help but also agree with Julia. She is, of course, a big part of the story all the way through.
Lifechanger just had its world premiere at Fantasia 2018 in Canada on July 20, 2018.
Whenever you get the chance to watch Lifechanger, make sure you jump at the opportunity!
Director/Writer: Justin McConnell
Cast: Elitsa Bako, Lora Burke, Jack Foley, Sam James White, Steve Kasan, Bill Oberst Jr., Rachel Vanduzer
A murderous shapeshifter sets out on a blood-soaked mission to make things right with the woman he loves.