Teenager Laura has to take on most of her brother Jacko’s care after their father’s suicide. One day, while wandering around post-quake Christchurch, they run into an old man who gives Jacko a stamp which turns out to be a demon’s mark. To save Jacko, Laura is forced to awaken her dormant supernatural power. Based on Margaret Mahy’s popular novel, The Changeover is a superb supernatural young adult thriller/romance.
Intelligent, superbly acted and wonderfully understated, The Changeover may be meant for a younger crowd, but takes its subject matter and audience seriously. As the children's mother, Heavenly Creatures’ Melanie Lynskey is in top form. Also perfectly cast is Timothy Spall, as a cross between an old-school warlock and a current-day vampire. The supernatural makes its way into the frame early on and never lets off. It’s part of the film’s fabric and never feels out of place. Apart from a beautiful sound design, the film also makes excellent use of music, a mix of an original score and well chosen songs.