Like any other fan of horror, I can enjoy a good story told in the Body horror sub-genre, and I was glad to see that “Replace”, the new film that we watched via the Fantasia Film Festival, not only has the right amount of gore and blood for the peeps, but also brings a very interesting thriller for the general public.
In this film we meet Kira, a lady that after a romantic date starts to experience blackouts, amnesia and disorientation, and while we could say “Hey, that’s what happens when you fall in love!” that would not explain why her skin is deteriorating at an accelerated rate, to the point that is actually breaking and falling apart.
After several medical tests that can’t provide a satisfactory answer, and after watching how the decay on her skin is rapidly spreading thru her body, Kira discovers by accident that her condition can be reversed, at least temporarily, when she applies to her wounds the skin from another person, unfortunately, it only works if the tissues is fresh, as in, just ripped from another living person… This makes Kira start walking the streets of the city searching for donors, even if the are not providing the tissue willingly, while at the same time trying to hide her bizarre treatment from Sophie, her very extroverted and attractive neighbor, that also seems to be very interested in her.
There were a lot of things that I liked from “Replace”, one of the was the pacing of the story, that although it takes its time giving away the clues about Kira’s condition, it never becomes boring. As you might imagine, there are a couple of twists and turns in the plot, some you can guess easily, other not so fast, but all of them make sense, and are played fairly. (Note on the side: I give extra points to the writers for the reference to the Death Note Manga/Anime)
Although there is blood and gore, the film never goes for the route of the easy shock, nor there is gratuitous violence (debatable in the jump scare department, nothing major). Just in case there are sensitive persons in the audience, I will warn you that there are several scenes with nudity (sometimes full), some are very understandable, some could be called gratuitous (I am perfectly fine with both), and the obvious love affair between the main characters. The acting was very good and I was glad to see Barbara Crampton (Reanimator, The Beyond) doing a role somewhat different from her more recent participation in films, and with even more screen time, I like that lady a lot.
Another aspect I liked was the musical score, especially the techno tunes, as I could see doing some research, those themes that I enjoyed were composed by Billie Ray Fingers and Bruce Fingers with other composers like Huw Williams, Daniel Suett and Edith Margaret Mudge, I tried to seek those songs under a band’s name, but I could not find any, just their respective previous work (still good, though). The score thru some kind of synthwave provided a mood that at times reminded me the works of John Carpenter, especially the themes from “Assault on Precinct 13” and “Escape From New York”.
The film was directed by Norbert Keil, who also wrote the script with Richard Stanley (Hardware, Dust Devil, The Abandoned). In the cast we have the talents of Rebecca Forsythe, Lucie Aron along with Barbara Crampton.
Part Body Horror, part psychological thriller, “Replace” is a film worth watching more than once, with a deep reflection about beauty, resentment and obsession, I can’t say more because I could be giving away too much, just make sure you give this film a chance when is released.
Fantasia Film Festival is on its 21th edition, and has always been know for showing some of the best films in the Fantasy, Horror and Sci-Fi genres, currently running thru August 3rd. You can visit their official website to see more of the great material they are showing this year, and follow them in social media.