What is it with Canada and its body horror? We just can’t seem to get enough of it. Whether we are watching it or making it, it is something that has come to be intrinsically associated with our country. Kind of like Italy and Giallo. It is now as fundamentally Canadian as maple syrup or hockey – depending upon who you ask, of course.
We could give David Cronenberg much of the credit for this. His films, like Shivers (1975), Videodrome (1983), and The Fly (1986) have certainly both pioneered and popularized the genre. There have been other contenders, though. Directors like Chad Archibald and William Fruet, who have followed in the footsteps of the master with their very own additions to the genre. Either way, it would appear that wherever you may find body horror, Canada is never lurking too far behind it.
Norbert Keil was both the writer and director of the recent body horror film Replace (2017). While Keil himself is a German national, the movie still bears an inevitable connection to the Great White North. The exterior portion of the filming was shot in Toronto, Ontario. See? What did I tell you? We just can’t escape it. Replace features Rebecca Forsythe, Lucie Aron, and the legendary scream-queen Barbara Crampton in its starring roles.
Scratching Below the Surface
The events of the film are somewhat convoluted, at first, and permeate an almost surreal atmosphere which is present for most of the 1 hour, 41-minute running time. The story revolves around a young woman named Kira who is suffering from a mysterious dermatological condition. This ailment causes her skin to deteriorate at an alarming rate, to the extent that it eventually causes entire sections of it to peel off altogether.
Despite various trips to a range of medical professionals, she finds herself no closer to finding a cure for this baffling predicament. In her desperation, things soon take a dark turn. Kira discovers that she can stave off the effects of her sickness. She can do this by replacing her decaying skin – but only if it is taken from another living, human source.
Replace is an odd movie. The plot isn’t exactly fantastic and the whole thing feels like it’s much longer than it actually needs to be. It has a tendency to drag on and can even be downright boring at times. This is in no small part due to the woeful lack of character development, accompanied by the stiff performances given by Forsythe and Aron. Unfortunately for the viewer, the pair dominate the vast majority of the film’s screen time. You are stuck with them for the entire journey – every last painful second of it. Although Replace does have a unique, hypnogogic quality to it, that is coupled with an engaging musical score, it isn’t enough to outweigh the many negative aspects of the film.
The Final Judgement
After some thought, I condemn Replace (2017) with a measly 2 out of 5 Cthulhus. It is a film that had some potential going in but that ultimately misses the mark upon delivery.(2 / 5)
If you enjoyed ‘Review: Under your Skin – Replace (2017)‘, then please feel free to check out our other movie reviews, here.