At first glance, The Changed, directed by Michael Mongillo from a screenplay he co-wrote with Matt Giannini, might seem like an odd mash-up of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers and The Host (the Stephenie Meyer version). But, as its brisk runtime whizzes by, the story reveals itself to be a family drama more than a political allegory, as well as a look at the trials and tribulations of entering adulthood. The question then is, can Mongillo juggle those threads while still delivering on the inherent promise of the genre?
Kim (Clare Foley) is a 17-year-old who feels ostracized at school and home. Her wayward mother is rarely in the picture, so she’s been raised by her Uncle Kurt (Doug Tompos), who can be domineering towards the girl despite the best of intentions. However, she finds a safe space with the neighbors she stays with after school and before Kurt is done working for the day.
“…Mac, Jane, and Kim tie Bill to a chair in the basement and interrogate him…”
On this particular day, said neighbors, married couple Mac (Jason Alan Smith) and Jane (Carlee Avers), have noticed that almost everyone in their community is acting peculiar, putting them on edge. At the hospital where she works, Jane’s supervisor attacks and tries to kiss her, while their friend Bill (Tony Todd) shows up at the house talking about change in the creepiest way possible. After barging his way into the house, Mac, Jane, and Kim tie Bill to a chair in the basement and interrogate him about what the change is and who is causing it.
Enter Kurt, who believes they’ve all gone mad, though he is soon convinced something strange is afoot. With Billy giving up precious few answers and “the changed” surrounding the house, it seems the makeshift family is doomed. Can our heroes discover a way to defeat these invaders, or are they doomed?
The Changed will grab viewers’ attention from the first second, as shots of isolated or abandoned buildings play out over the opening credits. But, it is the reveal of the title that is enticing: the image on screen breaks up and forms the words as a black border envelops everything else. It looks so cool that one is instantly captivated by what else might come.
"…be on the look out for a cameo from Erik Bloomquist!"