The Changeover
Rating: 5/5
Buy/Borrow: Buy
Source: Early preview courtesy of Lionsgate


While looking after her little brother one day after school, teenage Laura loses sight of him and desperately searches for Jacko. She finally finds him in a strange shop under the care of the creepy owner Carmody Braque.

Jacko suddenly falls ill, and Laura realises there was more to their meeting with Braque than she thought. As her brother’s condition worsens, she fears that something supernatural is at work and enlists the help of Sorensen Carlisle, a prefect at school to whom she is mysteriously drawn.

I was approached a few months ago to see if I was able to review a film called The Changeover. It was an adaptation of a YA book, by Margaret Mahy, which I had read when I was younger. I was unbelievably excited; but I'm always skeptical of adaptations where I've read the book first, as naturally, you go in with a lot of expectations. Thankfully those expectaions were met...

The Changeover is a YA masterpiece. Gritty, dark and an incredibly creepy supernatural thriller. The subtle magical elements to the film make the characters and their stories far more believable. The book has been adapted beautifully, and modernised just enough, so to fit in with today's world. Erana (Laura) & Nicholas' (Sorensen) acting is brilliant, but the stellar performance for me was Timothy Spall - terrifying, but electrifying. The soundtrack definitely deserves a mention, as the music is tied in perfectly within the film - and is one I'll be listening to for a while! It's dark, fast-paced and a true asset to the YA genre.

As previously mentioned, Timothy Spall was definitely the highlight of the film for me. He really brought the role of Carmody to life - and it's always refreshing to see a vampire be unashamedly terrifying, rather than the usual teenage, conventionally attractive vampires the YA audience is more accustomed to now. I'd go as far as to say, Carmody is one of my favourite villains - his personality is packed with everything a real villain needs; he is definitely the vision of nightmares.

Although the romance between Laura and Sorensen blossoms; for me, that isn't the love story that takes centre stage in the film. The love between Laura, and her little brother Jacko, is all-consuming and very close to home. She unknowingly puts her little brother in danger, and will stop at nothing to ensure he is protected and safe. I think anyone who is close to their siblings will identify with the bond, and it gives you a far deeper connection to the film.

What I loved most about Laura's character is her flawed personality. There is an overwhelming theme in YA that our protagonist's should make the right choices, and always do the honourable thing. Laura makes some questionable decisions in the film, that do not lead to the best outcomes - but it's authentic, and real; it doesn't feel forced. She's a teenager, and teenagers make mistakes. I think it's very refreshing for a film to reflect that.

Another element of the film I loved was that it left much to the imagination. In a modern world of special effects and CGI, there isn't much we're left to think about in films - The Changeover is the opposite. Everything about this film is stripped back, and laid bare - letting your mind take you where it wants to go is almost scarier than having each scene played out in front of you.

I would strongly recommend this film, and the DVD (and book) are out now - go pick them up and let me know your thoughts!


  1. It sounds like a fantastic adaptation :)
    I love that it sounds like it's not about the special effects, they can overshadow the story too much these days.
    Cora |

  2. The Transition. Margaret Mahy has written a fantastic novel that is well worth reading. The story is full of magic, romance, and suspense, and it will keep you reading until the end. This is an excellent choice for a book to do your assignment on. Trust me, you won't be sorry.