Replace (2019)

replace

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A woman takes drastic measures to keep her life intact, but meets disastrous and shocking results in this indie sci-fi/horror tale that amps up the shock value in its final act.

Kira Mabon is a young woman who is living the good life. Or so she thought. After meeting Jonas at a bar and having a one-night stand with him, she awakens to find herself in some strange predicaments. First, she finds herself all of a sudden living in what she thought was Jonas’ apartment. She soon meets next door neighbor Sophia, who had been living in her apartment for two years. However, that’s nothing compared to her awakening to having a skin condition that causes her to age rapidly.

Needing serious help, Kira sees Dr. Rafaela Crober, a top-notch dermatologist who is attempting to do research on a way to regenerate skin cells. However, when Sophia suffers a small accident involving some broken glass, Kira discovers after picking up a small piece of skin of Sonia’s that it attaches to her skin like new. She decides the only way to get new skin without the painful procedure of skin graft is to kill and skin others to feel young again. However, as time goes on and Kira gets closer to Sophia, she soon finds herself in a life-altering situation that she will either decide to escape or keep struggling with, all in the name to stay young.

A visceral nightmare trip for our protagonist, the duo of Norbert Keil and Richard Stanley crafted a tale that’s part-body horror and part-sci-fi thriller. Perhaps the latter is due to its visuals in terms of using neon style lighting for some of its scenes and at the same time, amps up the gore factor when the script calls for it. There are times when the death scenes are quite bloody and other times when it starts to get gory then cuts in an attempt not to make the viewers get too squeamish but thankfully, relies on practical effects rather than shoddy CGI effects.

Rebecca Forsythe churns out an excellent performance in both a scared and sinister sense as lead character Kira. From scared out of her mind due to her skin condition and trying to find out how to control it to the sinister discovery of how she could control it and her approaches to get this new skin plays off like a double-edged sword for the character. Lucie Aron’s Sophia is quite an interesting figure as neighbor Sophia, who soon finds herself very close to Kira despite Kira’s fears about her rare condition.

Horror icon Barbara Crampton goes against her classic scream queen persona to play dermatologist Dr. Crober. At first, she seems like someone who is concerned about her new patient’s condition and goes to great lengths to find a possible cure for it that may not exactly be on par with Kira’s methods. However, as the film progresses, something just doesn’t add up when it comes to her character as she still holds off on finding a cure right away. However, she sticks to her guns and attempts to do what she can to help Kira and her condition. The final act of the film, when all is revealed, really amps up the shock value of the film and may bring a complete “WTF” feel to it but it is done in such a jaw-dropping way that its unexpectedness is the reason for its jaw-dropping manner for the viewers.

Replace starts off as something a bit terrifying, then delves into a bit of the “not for squeamish” mode only to end in such an unexpected jaw-dropping final act that it makes for an ultimately very good indie sci-fi/horror hybrid thanks to its story, twists, and cast of characters.

WFG RATING: B+

Uncork’d Entertainment presents a Sparkling Pictures production in association with Eberhard Müller Filmproduktion, Gerhard Lidl Film, and Ultra 8 Pictures. Director: Norbert Keil. Producer: Felix von Poser. Writers: Norbert Keil and Richard Stanley. Cinematography: Tim Peter Kuhn. Editing: James T. Held and Bernhard Kreutzer.

Cast: Rebecca Forsythe, Lucie Aron, Barbara Crampton, Sean Knopp, Adnan Maral, Agnes Kiyomi Decker, J. David Hinze, Teresa Gluck, Daniel Holzberg, Matthias Beier, Laura Cuenca Serrano, Felix von Poser, Lea Urban.

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