This review was originally published as part of my coverage of Fantasia 2018
A shapeshifter tries to reconnect with a past love in Lifechanger. For most of his life, Drew (Bill Oberst Jr.) has had the ability to take on the form of other people. The transformation only lasts for a brief period of time, before the body begins to rot and Drew must find a new host before he dies. This endless cycle has begun to take a toll on Drew, as he longs to find a way to reconnect with Julia (Lora Burke), a woman he once loved in a previous form.
From writer/director Justin McConnell (Broken Mile) comes this film about a shapeshifter desperate for connection. We meet Drew short after he has taken on a new form, with his inner monologue commenting how much it feels like a hangover. There is no real explanation about why Drew has a shapeshifting ability, he just knows that he eventually has to find a new host for his own survival. On top of this, Drew longs to be reunited with Julia, the only woman he has truly loved.
Lifechanger is a film that I would categorize alongside 2014’s Spring, in how it is ultimately a romance, with the addition of genre elements. In Lifechanger‘s case, Drew must periodically absorb the form of other people, leaving them as shriveled husks in the process. With Drew played throughout the film by different actors, with a narrated inner monologue by Bill Oberst Jr., the main constant of the film is Lora Burke (Poor Agnes) as Julia, who unknowingly has encounters throughout the film with Drew’s multiple forms. Lifechanger can also be viewed somewhat as a ode to David Cronenberg, with Drew’s transformations having a major body horror feel to them. Ultimately, Lifechanger is a twisted little shapeshifter love story.