When her brother Jacko (Benji Purchase) falls ill from a mysterious and ancient spirit (Timothy Spall) set to possess his soul, Laura (Erana James) must tap into her true powers and sense of self in order to save her brother’s life and defeat the evil from continuing. This Australian-based coming of age film will take its audience on a tense and spiritual ride through the thralls of family, evil beings, and contemporary witchcraft.
Based on the book of the same title, THE CHANGEOVER focuses on the supernatural, while giving the audience a very modern take on witchcraft. Directed by Miranda Harcourt and Stuart Mckenzie, this movie doesn’t rely on traditional elements such as potions, spell books or charms, but rather on the mental state of transcendence that one must possess to change the world around them. The character of Laura demonstrates this throughout the film- she clearly holds some type of power that seems small and unexplained, but as the plot progresses, she learns she must completely changeover to make sure her brother is safe.
With its intriguing premise and unnerving moments, this film kept my attention from start to finish. Some reviews I briefly skimmed stated that the middle of the film grows listless and boring, but I did not find that to be the case. It keeps you wondering with its unpredictability and has you genuinely concerned for little Jacko- some moments will have you on the edge of your seat, while simultaneously sighing with relief. This plot was very refreshing and has piqued my interest in checking out what the book has to offer.
I always find symbolic additions to be fun to pick through and decipher, especially when involving interesting subjects such as witchcraft. We see many elements throughout the film’s duration: butterflies, black cats, parasites, etc. All of these house relevance to the plot, and the story at hand lending itself as a great aid in the process of storytelling. The biggest metaphor, I felt, was the subject of change; crossing over to tap inward, and to release those powers for the greater good. Laura’s love interest and witch she meets along the way named Sorensen (Nicholas Galitzine) produces a butterfly out of thin air, which shows up in various scenes. Timothy Spell’s character is referred to as a larva; a parasite that feeds off of others. The symbolism seems to present Laura as the butterfly, as she undergoes a complete metamorphosis from being a sensitive to becoming a full witch, while Timothy remains as a larva; the parasitic first stage that drains things dry, and uses his powers for evil.
Along with great symbolic relevance, the cast was also a perfect fit, presenting some impressive performances all around. Timothy Spall undoubtedly plays a great villain, as he instinctively knows how to create an eerie atmosphere with his mannerisms and dialogue, proving time and again the type of character acting chops he contains. While actor Erana James proceeds to be strong, courageous, and all the while mysterious. The on-screen chemistries provided great contrast and build up between characters and situations, leading the audience to be along for the ride with them.
With all of these elements working together, combined with captivating cinematography and a great, well-placed score, THE CHANGEOVER proceeds to be a creative and unique film – one that will provide genre fans with something fresh and new. The interesting take towards witchcraft and spiritualism, alongside a powerhouse cast of actors sets it apart from other films of this nature to be released in 2019, ranking it alongside other indie must-sees of the year. Be sure to check out THE CHANGEOVER when it arrives in theaters and On Demand February 22nd.