VOD Releases: Interchange (2016) - Reviewed

Interchange is currently available on Amazon Instant, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Xbox, Google Play, & iTunes

Interchange is a story of intrigue, mystery and trauma. Adam (Ledil Putra) is a former forensics photographer who lives secluded from society after being traumatized by the last case he worked on. The experience left him suffering strange hallucinations that have left him unable to function as his normal self. A detective (Shaheizy Sam) convinces him to work on solving the mystery of the strange corpses and macabre murders, as Adam could prove to be crucial in the development of the case. From award winning director Dain Said, will this movie prove to be a gripping tale of mystery and horror?

In short, no. I just want to say that I am an avid Fan of Southeast Asian Cinema. As someone of Southeast Asian descent, I believe some great films have come out of the region, classics such as The Raid, Ilo Ilo and Norte, the End of History are legitimate attempts at creating art instead of imitating popular cinema. So even though the area is relatively poor, it does not mean that the movies produced there suffer in quality. Interchange does not compare on a creative scale to some of the best films of the region but, that doesn’t mean it doesn't deserve credit for what it is able to achieve.

Interchange has many fine looking moments that really come alive through lighting and cinematography. What’s most surprising of Interchange is that it was made on a budget of roughly $900,000 dollars, which is real impressive considering how terrific the creature makeup looks. It's so good that I was totally invested in it's context story-wise, as opposed to figuring out how they managed to make it look so god on a tight budget. These were designs that felt genuinely original in concept instead of being inspired by a western movie. I love stuff like this, where filmmakers create their own stories and creatures that relate to their own particular culture and heritage. It’s these details that separate cheap imitations from real movies.

Where Interchange ultimately lacks is in its pacing. It’s a real slow-paced movie, but maybe just a little bit too slow. There were moments where all of the needed information in a scene was already established, but it kept going. It’s this kind of pacing that makes getting though the second act more of a chore than anything else. This point is punctuated more by the fact that the introduction and the first act did not draw me in. I was drawn to continue watching because I was intrigued by the unique monster designs and not the story that was being told. Other viewers may not be as interested in the creatures and stray away very quickly. I also felt that some scenes took to long to get to the point, building up to anticlimactic moments where all the time invested felt wasted.

The acting also has a little left to be desired. There wasn’t anything particularly bad about the cast, they just felt a little robotic. Even though I am told that these people have been suffering or are under extreme stress, I don’t believe it because I cannot see it in the actors’ performance. Interchange is a movie guilty of telling not showing. In order to bring context to the way people are feeling, there needs to be a visual element to establish why they feel that way. There are a lot of moments when characters are sitting in silence, but we don’t know what is going through their mind because it is not shown. The lack of context creates a lack of connection to the people on screen, making it all the more difficult to be invested in the story.

In conclusion, Interchange is a low budget foreign film that has some nice production value. Wherever it takes a step forward in its production, it takes another step back in story and that’s what makes it an average picture. The most important part of a movie is its story and when that aspect suffers for other elements, than it will always be an average film. 

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-Justin Laybourn