The phrase ‘body horror’ captures the fans attention, the eyes widen with delight, motionless faces become gleeful smiles, for those unaware it goes far past the conceptual term of method acting which has the actor enduring some serious modifications. Often it’s used with David Croneberg’s movies Videodrome (1983), The Fly (1986), or the flick Bite (2015), as the scenes achieve a visceral appearance that either encourages further viewing pleasure or complete disgust, which for hardcore horror is a best of both worlds and a paradise of exploration. So, why do I mention this, well Nobert Keil describes his debut film, from  Uncork’d Entertainment, as a thriller which gets under the skin in more than one manner, however while he assisted writing the screenplay he had three other experienced and knowledgeable writers. Among them Richard Stanley (Hardware [1990]) and Scarlett Amaris (Color Out of Space [2019]).

When I first heard about this film I immediately thought about a movie called The Rejuvenator (1988), from director Brian Thomas Jones, in which a woman wanted to retain her youthful looks. However, Norbert Keil’s film takes a more unusual path in which a woman named Kira (Rebecca Forsythe (The Malibu Tapes [2019])), who has battled various lengths of amnesia, and has an unknown disorder that causes her skin to rot. She begins to have regular visits Dr. Crober (Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator [1985])), who’s a skin-care specialist, and she starts to volley between pluses and minuses to everyday living with the condition, before all out madness erupts. The story dives further into the dangers of vanity, going to incredible lengths to battle this condition which then made me think of a CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode ‘Justice Is Served’ from Season 1, that involved Porphyria, effecting the skin that aged and rotted prematurely, unless consuming a blood protein drink. Kira’s situation affects her hands, and much of her upper torso, peeling away in bloody sections, and she needs healthy skin placed over her flesh to survive, all of it at first makes her as evil one control of own fate. The flesh peel scenes are extremely visceral but not outlandishly gory. One must be careful not to expose too much for the second half of the film really gets under the experiments of Dr. Corber, although one should note that the emotional side of the film and characters truly increases to a noteworthy portion, especially involving Kira’s deep love for her neighbor Sophia (Lucie Aron).

Keil’s first error comes with a runtime of 101-minutes, editing was desperately needed in some portions, many unneeded scenes, involving the doctor visits if the removal of those occurred then the suspense would have greatly improved as for second stumbling block which occurred in the third act, switching lanes between the multiple genres; the psychological thriller with moments horror were fine for the overall production. This doesn’t mean the film is without fine pleasures, namely in the amnesia portions, instead of customary flashbacks Keil deploys jumbled visuals creating atmospheric eerie moods the lead and leaves the audience in the mystery.

It always impresses me when an independent film shows its passion and dedication to the craft to tell a multi-layered story, while treating the audience with respect. Replace definitely achieves a suggestive and alluring tale all woven together and concentrating on the pain and agony to achieve beauty and how it reflects one’s placement in society, rather than focusing on gore to achieve a lasting impression with the viewers and the numerous nominations and wins it earned.

IMDd Rating: 4.6/10

Baron’s Rating: 4.5/10