Review By Bears Rebecca Fonte
At the heart of Justin McConnell’s horror flick LIFECHANGER is a love story, the forlorn fiction of one man returning to visit his last hope again and again only to have her never remember him. The reason she doesn’t remember him is that he always comes to her in a different body — sometimes as a woman even — because he is cursed with an affliction that requires him to switch bodies every few days, leaving behind him a trail of corpses as he burns through their mortal remains.
Just as she does to our narrator, Julia Watson (Lora Burke), anchors the entire film. The unsatisfied barfly seems desperate for connection in a world that is passing too fast for anything meaningful. Through her interactions with the various versions of our lead character, it is clear that there is something magical about the way our heart works. She really does connect with the soul, no matter what is on the outside. I can’t but help wonder what the film would have been like if told from this character’s perspective.
Unfortunately, McConnell’s film must focus on our narrator as he goes through bodies in rather gruesome and gory ways, disposing of hollowed out corpses and destroying families. What is left out of the story is any form of guilt that the narrator should be going through to really be worthy of Julia. Unfortunately, this is not a character that seems to earn love. In fact it’s almost as if he assumes Julia should love him because he loves her, in classic toxic masculine fashion. His behavior doesn’t really change when he is in the body of a woman, which could have been an interesting adjustment, but instead is more potential unrealized.
In fact, most of the potential of LIFECHANGER is unrealized. There hardly exists an obstacle in any time our narrator needs to take a body, and the obvious criminal investigation into the trail of bodies is nothing more than a minor inconvenience. However, the biggest opportunity forsaken is any investigation into what this condition is, and why he has it. This seems to be some sort of new mythology is that the director is inventing. Just because our narrator does not seem particularly interested in self-analysis, the audience doesn’t get to enjoy any of the details of how everything works. Why not try to find a cure? Why not take us back to how it started? Instead the film plays out almost as a series of vignettes with Julia as our sole constant. It’s almost as if the director had this great premise and then tried to horror-it-up, and, in doing so, lost sight of our narrator’s humanity, much in the same way the narrator himself has lost sight of his humanity. In the end, LIFECHANGER is certainly watchable, but only slightly memorable. Maybe this is a set up for a far more illuminating sequel.