Thursday, September 9, 2021

"Replace" - a slow burn gem of mind & body horror

Greetings, commies!

Halloween is about 7 weeks away, but it's not too late to start prepping your watch list. Today's review is of Replace, a deeply rewarding and intelligent body horror film. 


Afflicted with a dermatological disease, young and beautiful Kira discovers that she can replace her skin with that of other girls. Helped by her lover, she plots a murder and the victim becomes her donor, but when the disease returns, she is forced to find more victims.

My thoughts:

If you are looking for mindless scream fest with a linear plot, do not watch this movie. It has a challenging texture, and you will find yourself frustrated. You must be in the right frame of mind to appreciate this gem. The one-word title of the film doesn't tell you much until you actually watch the whole thing through. You have to be patient and open-minded as you sit through the initial scenes that don't appear to make sense. The payoff is worth it. If you have seen "Vanilla Sky" or "Dark City", you will appreciate the mind and body horror. The film examines the concept of self. Is there more to "self" other than long term memory and body tissue? 

Kira, the protagonist, is not very sympathetic from start. She comes across as a superficial brat and doesn't make you want to root for her. In fact, you get that "serves you right" reaction when she starts suffering physically. Again, resist the knee-jerk temptation to stop watching just because the main character annoys you. 

And of course, no body horror movie would not be complete without the incomparable Barbara Crampton. After a few horror staples of the 1980s, she has earned this role as a mad demoness who justifies her actions by her hunger for discovery and progress. 

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