Toronto After Dark 2018: Our Review Of ‘Lifechanger’

Posted in Film Festivals, Movies, Theatrical by - October 15, 2018
Toronto After Dark 2018: Our Review Of ‘Lifechanger’

Lifechanger doesn’t waste time revealing what type of movie it is. Writer/director Justin McConnell throws viewers straight into his bleak hyper-violent world, opening the film with a babe, a dead body, and blood. Lifechanger revels in sadistic glee as its main character moves through the world, leaving a trail of corpses in his wake. This isn’t a film for the squeamish, but if you’re looking for a gritty horror flick with provocative themes, you won’t find a better option.

Lifechanger tells the story of a mysterious character who refers to themselves as Drew (voiced by Bill Oberst Jr.). Years ago, Drew was a man. Now though, he’s some type of supernatural being. He has the power to suck the life out of people and transform them into withered husks as he clones their bodies and steals their memories. Drew leaps into men and women and spends years living in them as meat-suits until the magic wears off and their bodies decay. But something changed, and these suits don’t last long before they start to rot, so Drew goes on a killing spree to stay alive. The more he kills, the more reckless he gets, and before long, authorities catch wind of his actions and set their sights on stopping him.

With its shrieking and throbbing score, grim urban setting, and audacious violence, Lifechanger plays like a great piece of 80’s trash-cinema (this is a compliment). Even the wooden performances add to the low-fi aesthetic. What’s most impressive, though, is the subtext McConnell layers throughout his picture. This is a story about human consumption – consumerism, environmental – and our Hoover-like ability to drain, devour and deplete, with no regard for the cost. Lifechanger is smarter than it looks, with a socially conscious message buried beneath all the brutality, bodies, and blood.

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Victor Stiff is a Toronto-based freelance writer and pop culture curator. Victor currently contributes insights, criticisms, and reviews to several online publications where he has extended coverage to the Toronto International Film Festival, Hot Docs, Toronto After Dark, Toronto ComiCon, and Fan Expo Canada. Victor has a soft spot in his heart for Tim Burton movies and his two poorly behaved beagles (but not in that order).
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