• Name: Replace
• Year: 2017
• Country: Germany, Canada
• Director: Norbert Keil
• Main cast: Rebecca Forsythe, Lucie Aron, Barbara Crampton
• Runtime: 101 minutes
• Production company: Sparkling Pictures, Eberhard Müller Filmproduktion, Gerhard Lidl Film
The director of this movie, Norbert Keil, states in the official press note that “Repkace (2017) is a story about fear. Fear of old age, the decay of your body and the inevitability of death”. And that eternal personal drama serves to build a story that although it clearly stands on the path of body horror it focuses more on the inner hell the main character is living, not knowing what is a dream and what is real, and the strange effects her strange disease is causing.
Following the steps of recent films like Contracted (2013), Thanatomorphose (2012) or In My Skin (original French title Dans Ma Peau) (2002), in Repkace (2017) young and beautiful Kira is afflicted with a strange disease: her skin starts to age rapidly, dry out and crumble away. When she discovers that she can replace her own skin with somebody else’s, she has to choose between to watch her own body wither and die, or to give in to temptation whatever the price is. ”The protagonist gets a chance to bend the rules, maybe even break them. As she discovers her new life, her new love and all that she has lost to get those things, she reevaluates her options. How much of her morality is she willing to sacrifice to be young and beautiful?” concludes the director on his statement.
The premise of in Replace (2017), as is stated on the previous lines, is quite promising. But, sadly, the final result doesn’t meet the expectations. Although in the technical aspects the movie stay attractive enough, with beautifully filmed scenes and an addictive soundtrack, the director can’t manage to keep up with a narration that matches the atmosphere created. The relationship between Kira, portraited by a newby Rebecca Forsythe in a role perhaps too intense for her inexpertise, and her mysterious new friend and neighbor Sophia, in a drifting performance by Lucie Aron, confuse the audience more than keeping them glued to the seat. The script, co-written by director Norbert Keil together with Richard Stanley (responsible of the screenplays for Hardware (1990), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996) and Dust Devil (1992)) is very chaotic. It tries to drink from the many waters of troubled dreams, mysteries of the past, furtive relationships, erotism, horror and thriller, but, at the end, the cocktail doesn’t work. The narration is confusing, one never gets attached to the characters and inevitably loses interest in the movie along half of its running time.
A special mention is deserved by the character of Dr. Rafaela Crober, played by the always adorable Barbara Crampton. With an actress like Crampton, a veteran in classics like Re-Animator (1985), Chopping Mall (1986) or From Beyond (1986), or more recent films like You’re Next (2011) or The Lords of Salem (2012), one could expect she should enjoy a character with more intensity than what it actually is. Crampton does a good job telling the lines with the perfect key needed at each moment, but the script is so hollow that all her talent goes to waste.
After watching Replace (2017) I had the feeling that the filmmakers lost a good opportunity to do a movie that could outstand from the rest of the infections and body horror titles of the last years. The idea and the approach were never the most original of them all but it was good enough. Too bad the final result is more bitter than sweet. But if you are in the mood of seeing the bodies of beautiful girls to get mutilated by strange diseases, why not to give it a try?
IMDB URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5563862
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