Lifechanger, an upcoming horror-thriller film from writer-director Justin McConnell, has wrapped filming in Toronto. As was previously reported, Lifechanger tells the story of a murderous shape-shifter who embarks on a blood-soaked mission to make amends with the woman he loves.
McConnell promises genre fans that Lifechanger will deliver something they haven’t seen before. “It’s definitely a horror film, but it isn’t your traditional jump-scare fest or bump-in-the-night story,” says McConnell, who also served as a producer on the independent production. “You are with the monster, so it’s hard to find that dread when you always know when the threat is going to come, because you’re watching the threat the whole time. Was Frankenstein frightening? What this film is, I’d say, is suspenseful. I’m talking about an old-school, bomb-under-the-table type of suspense, to quote Alfred Hitchcock. That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with hack-and-slash, and this film definitely has some of that.”
McConnell says that the twenty-day filming schedule resembled a non-stop marathon. “With a film like this, where you have some budget but not as much as you really would hope to have to pull of something this ambitious, you rely heavily on your cast and crew giving 110 percent every day,” says McConnell. “I can say that they really did step up, top to bottom. We had a lot of long, hard days. We shot in November and December in Toronto, and a lot of the shooting was outdoors, so it was really, really cold. We had more locations than shooting days, and I did everything they tell you not to do on a low-budget film. We had kids, animals, exterior night shooting, stunts, firearms, fire, practical effects, and animatronics.”
Although McConnell brought a wide variety of genre influences to the making of Lifechanger, the writer-director now describes the look and tone of the film as being reminiscent of the television series Mindhunters and the film The Silence of the Lambs. “We shot it to play more like a traditional thriller, with clean, steady camerawork and a lot of detail paid to composition and lighting depth,” says McConnell. Tonally, it’s a pretty unique beast. It floats between drama, dark comedy, full-on horror, and even some action beats.”
Lifechanger, which is being represented by American distributor Uncork’d Entertainment and Toronto-based distributor Raven Banner Entertainment, has yet to be given a 2018 release date.
Photos courtesy of Shawn Goldberg.