October 1, 2019 Replace (Movie Review)
In order for Kira to live, many souls must perish in the brand new Horror/Sci-Fi/Thriller offering Replace. Uncork’d Entertainment begin to peel back the layers via DVD and VOD on Tuesday, October 1st, 2019.
From the first few minutes of Replace, it becomes abundantly clear that things are very confused in the beautiful Kira Mabon’s (Rebecca Forsythe: We Are Your Friends 2015, The Bronx Bull 2016) life. She awakes in a lover’s apartment near the expressway, dresses and begins the journey home—only to find herself right back where she started. More confuzzling is the fact that the apartment in question is actually her own, and seemingly overnight she has acquired a bizarre condition of the skin on her fingers.
A trip to Dr. Crowber (Barbara Crampton: Re-Animator 1985, You’re Next 2011) reveals a whole new myriad of conundrums: suffering from short-term memory loss, fainting spells and dizziness, along with an extreme degeneration of her outer skin layer, Kira is battling an unknown illness. In the wake of this news, disoriented and struggling to understand her situation, she encounters an alluring neighbor, Sophia (Lucie Aron: Berlin Syndrome 2017, You Are Wanted series), and the two begin to forge a romance amidst the tension of Kira’s current health crisis.
Unable to accept that her skin is degenerating and peeling away, Kira begins to spiral downward. What happens when she accidentally discovers a deadly cure for what ails her, and just how far is she willing to go to maintain her beauty? Clocking in at 100 minutes, Replace was directed by Nortbert Keil (Von wegen! 2005, Bathtub to Happiness short 2009) and written by Keil with Richard Stanley (Hardware 1990, The Island of Dr. Moreau 1996). It also features the acting talents of Sean Knopp (Doctor Who series, Dark Encounter 2019) and Adnan Maral (Fay Grim 2006, Unknown 2011).
Billed as a blend of Horror, Sci-Fi, and Thriller, Replace is indeed all of these things: with heavy body horror elements in the vein of Cronenberg, some heartwarming similarities to the likes of Elizbeth Bathory and Ed Gein, and an insightful discussion on youth, beauty, and even love. However, despite the macabre nature of the film, it maintains a sleek aesthetic that, while certainly bloody at times, never seems to degrade its quality by dipping into the gratuitous for simple shock value.
Furthermore, Replace is proudly female-fronted, with its three main stars all being exceptionally talented women. In the lead, Forsythe delivers a commendable performance in her role as Kira Mabon, the young woman at the center of this entire story. Young, beautiful and afraid to age, Kira’s degenerative skin condition is her worst nightmare, and Forsythe is easily able to translate these universal fears of so many women who are facing the inevitable signs of aging. In a society that values outward youth and beauty over anything that can be found deeper, Kira’s condition is a curse—exaggerated in the film but steeped in far too much reality. There’s a sultry grace to Forsythe’s delivery, one that makes her character likable and somewhat relatable despite her devolving circumstances.
Horror icon Crampton has obviously more than proven herself within the genre, and here she eerily portrays a refined and elegant mad scientist. With her smooth delivery, she paints the character of Crober as a woman with lofty goals for her research, a would-be savior of the aging. Meanwhile, as Kira’s love interest Sophia, Aron is given a fairly flat character, though she injects a seductive allure into her early performance, bespelling viewers and Kira alike. As the story develops, her character is allowed to spread her wings, and Aron delivers a wonderful performance in the role.
With a wonderful original score composed and arranged by Franco Tortora (Centipede! 2004, Life on Top series) and Tom Batoy (I Witness 2003, Berlin, I Love You 2019) that utilizes plenty of Moog synths to craft a classic 1980’s Sci-Fi feel, Replace sets a tone for its macabre premise. This is certainly aided by the moody cinematography of Tim Kuhn (Desperados on the Block 2009, Wycieczka 2019), who brings the bleak tale to life with his treatment of its visual aesthetics. Coming together, all these myriad elements allow the intriguing screenplay to shine through and deliver its multitude of important questions.
A sleek and seductive Sci-Fi-based horrific romp for fans of 2018’s Perfect and Elizabeth Harvest, as well as 2016’s The Neon Demon, Replace asks what lengths we are willing to go to maintain our youth and beauty.
For centuries humanity has sought the fountain of youth, so what if it was within our grasp? Would you pay any price to embrace eternal springtime? Furthermore, if true love means growing old together, how can it exist in a world without age? So, ask yourself: how far would you go to live forever? For this, Cryptic Rock give Replace 4.5 of 5 stars.