Film Review – The Changeover (2017)

Based on the beloved novel by Margaret Mahy and starring Timothy Spall, Lucy Lawless, and Melanie Lynskey THE CHANGEOVER is a new supernatural adventure and out to download and own in August 2018.


In post-earthquake Christchurch, teenager Laura Chant cares for her younger brother Jacko whilst their mum is at work. One day Jacko goes missing, frantic Laura finds him playing in a pop-up shop filled with strange toys. The creepy old shop-owner, Carmody Braque gives Jacko a stamp on his hand and sends them on their way.

When Jacko begins to get sick Laura realises there’s more to the sinister Braque and the hand stamp than she had realised. Fearing that something supernatural is at work and desperate to save her little brother, Laura seeks help from Sorensen Carlisle, an aloof prefect at her school to whom she is mysteriously drawn.

Laura discovers that Sorenson is from a family of witches. Sorenson’s mother reveals the only way Laura can save Jacko’s life is to ‘change over’ and become a witch herself to defeat the evil ancient spirit, Braque

Review – Contains Spoilers

There is no slow start with this film whilst we get to know the characters, it goes straight into the main character seeing visions, and an eerie feeling as you watch Laura and her brother Jacko going about their daily lives, their father is dead and their mother is working late shifts so Laura is left to be the responsible one and look after her brother.

Being a teenager you see her turn down parties and nights out with her friends to be with her brother, she doesn’t resent him for this but she does her mother, all this within the start of the film and then they meet the eerie shopkeeper Braque (Timothy Spall).

You immediately get a bad vibe from him, and after he stamps Jacko’s hand he starts to act even more strange, and we find out that the stamp enables him to possess Jacko, and use his life force to keep himself young.

The film is not slow, and for its genre Young Adult, it is pitched just right. The film does, however, get a little weird in the middle when Laura enlists the help of Sorenson and his family, who are witches, to help her to changeover to become a witch herself.

At one point you’re not sure if she’s in the changeover state or if what we are watching is really happening, but she comes out the other end a witch and defeats the evil spirit, but she’s too late to save her brother.

The film ends with Laura using her magic, against the advice of Sorenson, to bring her brother back to life and by doing so, losing her innocence.

For a film that starts really well, I feel it almost loses itself at the end, but still makes for a good YA film.

Rachael Jess

Thriller | New Zealand, 2017 | 12 | 27th August 2018 (UK) | DVD | Lionsgate HE | Dir.Miranda Harcourt, Stuart McKenzie | Timothy Spall, Melanie Lynskey, Lucy Lawless, Nicholas Galitzine, Erana James