Told from the perspective of a serial-killing shapeshifter named Drew (narrated by Bill Oberst Jr), Lifechanger follows a man with a fear of death as his clock begins to tick harder and faster than ever before.
The film opens with Drew taking the identity of a woman whose corpse lays dead on the bed. He then disposes of the body, something which appears to be second nature, eventually burning the body in a field. This is a routine he does with most of his bodies.
Through Drew’s narration, he sounds depressed and desensitised from this act which he’s been doing for a long while, he is, as he states to a character named Julia (Lora Burke), a lot older than he looks. Drew has been in fact speaking with Julia for many years in a local bar through different guises/bodies and has become infatuated by her.
Realising that he’s decomposing more rapidly than usual, Drew tries to figure out what he needs to do, all the while mercilessly killing people to save his own rotting skin. He fears the unknown and questions his mortality if he were to stop killing.
He senses that his time is running out and that the one person he wants to confess to and be with is Julia. In a selfish act, he targets and kills her lover in order to spend his last days with her in his bid to tell her the truth and realise his love for her.
There’s blurred lines as to whether Drew is just trying to survive or whether he’s just a psychopath. The latter seems more relevant as he’s relentless in his kills, without any compassion or gratitude for the lives he’s taking. Drew is the antagonist in the story, although his predicament is an unavoidable morose one, he continues to take lives.
His fears of his mortality are confirmed in a confession to Julia, stating his relationship with his mother, another issue which could be related to his manner of killing and the fact that most of his victims are women.
With unresolved repression due to a misinterpretation of his existence, it’s difficult to tell whether Drew is just a beguiled old soul who doesn’t want to get old and live forever.
He justifies his slays through philosophical reasoning but is faced with a circumstance which proves the tragic irony behind all of the murders he’s committed. It therefore seems difficult to empathise with a character who remains quite unrelenting right up until the end.
Furthermore, Drew’s assumed love for Julia might just be infatuation, even if he goes the whole mile to be with her. His idea of love is misguided, when his battle is to love himself in order to accept his existence.
Whilst the supernatural elements of Lifechanger are unclear, the film survives on the thriller-psychological themes alone and is led by character Drew and his mortality crisis. There’s still a vague sense of reason for Drew’s narcissistic characteristics. It’s difficult to gather the true meaning of the film without an understanding of Drew’s origins, even if touched on lightly.
The premise of a serial-killing psychopathic shapeshifter stands on its own merit, as we watch the Lifechanger story unravel, observing just how character Drew uses the life of his next victim to survive and get what he wants. And, there’s still some mystery amongst the ambiguities in the film which still make for an entertaining viewing.