While the writers’ inspiration is worn on the film’s sleeves, they still manage to concoct something that feels original and eerie throughout. It should be noted that the movie isn’t quite a horror title but favors atmosphere, creepiness, and suspense over scares. As such, some horror hounds who want something truly frightening, not just ominous, might be let down. But even still, the film plays host to some unnerving sequences and intense scenes.
Where Mongillo and Giannini truly succeed is in the characters. Each role, no matter how minor, has clear motivations and an arc that makes sense. All of “the changed” want to assimilate others, while the humans desperately seek a way to prevent it. But within that broad framework, each person has their own rationale for doing what they do (I know that seems vague, but I’m trying not to spoil things) that is relatable and grounded. Kim finding a reason to want to be herself, despite her difficulties in life and Mac’s coming into his own as a leader, are all truly fascinating.
“Every actor delivers a worthwhile and spot-on performance.”
The themes The Changed plays with also run deep. Kim’s arc involves potentially being seduced by “the changed,” as petty high school things would no longer be a concern. This view of growing up and conforming to a seemingly normal life despite the way one was raised brings up a lot of engaging questions. Coupled with the strong characterizations, the screenplay proves to be much more involved and profound than expected.
For all that good just discussed, it all pales in comparison to the cast. Every actor delivers a worthwhile and spot-on performance. Todd gets to be very humorous and goofy in his first scene, while the intimidating demeanor he’s known for takes hold later on. The legend makes the silliness and disturbing seem as important to the role as each other. Foley stuns as the teenager looking for something better. In one scene where she talks about how none of the adults noticed she left, the actor really lets loose, and her frustrations feel both justified and understandable.
The Changed is telling a story that has been told before. But, the writers have managed to create something compelling and different, thanks to the themes and excellent characterizations. Combine that with the stellar cast and fantastic ending, and you have a title to seek out as soon as possible. Plus, be on the look out for a cameo from Erik Bloomquist!
"…be on the look out for a cameo from Erik Bloomquist!"