The Changeover DVD Reviewed By Jon E Clist

The Premise
Based on the Carnegie Medal winning novel by Margeret Mahy. Sixteen year-old Laura Chant lives with her mother and four-year-old brother Jacko in a poor new suburb on the edge of a partially demolished Christchurch, New Zealand. Laura is drawn into a supernatural battle with an ancient spirit who attacks Jacko and slowly drains the life out of him as the spirit becomes ever younger. Laura discovers her true identity and the supernatural ability within her, and must harness it to save her brother's life.

The Review
Wow, I love seeing Margaret Mahey still having a huge impact on the culture and arts industry in New Zealand. We have loved her books for many decades and thoroughly enjoyed their television and cinematic renderings along the way. I love that she could write fun stories that entertain the little kids and yet could also do a supernatural tale that would have you sitting on the edge of your seat in anticipation as to what would happen next. The Changeover is one of the latter tomes to come to the big screen.

Intense performances give promise to well-crafted characters that combine to swirl their way amidst a hurricane plot. With delectable twists and turns that are matched so perfectly by a frightening fierce battle between good and evil. It is the dastardly devious that is so beautifully brought to life by one of the great actors of our time in the firm of Timothy Spall. Wow, his characterization of Carmody Braque is so amazing that not only will it make the hair on your neck stand up but also have you feeling as though he could be about to knock on your door and ask to be invited in. Under no circumstances should you invite him in. We have seen him playing the dastardly evil roles so well of late. He was mind-blowingly good in Denial. He has certainly come a long way from the early days of Alf Wiedersehen Pet back in the 80s.

Of course this film does not rest on the thespian skills of Spall and the more established local actors such as Lucy Lawless and Melanie Lynskey. There is also a wonderful collection of up and coming actors that are destined to bring some great roles to life in the future. Firstly, in the central role of Laura Chant we find the wonderful Erana James. Here is a young actress who brings a nice blend of drama and focus to her performance and has your attention at all times. Backed up by Nicholas Galitzine and Benji Purchase the cast rounds out to bounce cleverly off each other and this chemistry helps to aid the pace and flow of the story.

The story and intensity reminded me of what I felt as a kid watching the original Under The Mountain television series. It had me scared, unsettled but enthralled.

The Verdict
A great supernatural thriller/horror and not just for locally produced but on an international stage too.

The Trailer

The Info
DVD Releases: 20th December 2017
Rating: M – Contains Supernatural themes & content that may disturb
Duration: 93 minutes 
Genre:  Fantasy
Starring: Melanie Lynskey, Lucy Lawless, Timothy Spall, Nicholas Galitzine, Erana James, Benji Purchase
Director: Miranda Harcourt, Stuart McKenzie

The Extras
Extras for the Bonfire Party scene had to stay on set, repeating the many scenes for over 12 hours.