Was drawn into seeing 'Replace' with a cool poster/cover, a very intriguing and creative premise and as someone with a general appreciation for horror. That it was low-budget, which from frequent personal experience is rarely a good sign due to that there are so many poor ones out there, made me though apprehensive.
'Replace' is sadly however yet another film seen recently, hence some reiteration because the exact same strengths and flaws those films are present here, that to me was incredibly disappointing considering its potential which it doesn't do anywhere near enough with. As a film it's lacklustre, with a plethora of problems (huge ones too) and doesn't do enough with its potential, which was hardly small. There is very little good about it
Lets start with the positives. The scenery is atmospheric and spooky and 'Replace' is surprisingly well shot.
Found too that the acting was not bad, doing their best with disappointingly nowhere near enough material to work with, and that there were a few nice twists that intrigued and weren't telegraphed too early.
Unfortunately, the story does feel paper thin, disjointed and over-stretched and some of it feels vague, under-explained in the last third where the film especially became duller, more predictable, more senseless and less scary. Too many characters are too sketchy and with nowhere near enough to make one want to endear to them. The effects are ropy at best.
Dialogue can be stilted and rambling, with lots of clichés and no depth whatsoever (definitely one of the worst assets), while the pace goes to a standstill very quickly and drags with very little going on worth caring about. Found too many the supposedly shocking moments not surprising or scary and the supposedly creepy atmosphere dreary, due to the excessive obviousness, a lot of dumb and vague moments and explanations and the lack of tension and suspense.
There are a good deal of underdeveloped plot elements and often nonsensical and confusing character motivations, while too many of the things to make you jump or shocked are far from creative or scary and are pretty tame. There is not enough threat here and what there is of it tends to be used poorly, it is completely unimaginative and more odd than creepy, with little sense of horror or urgency. Some badly sagging momentum too. The direction is leaden, inexperience seems to be all over the film. There is no creativity or anything shocking.
As said previously very well, the music, sound and editing are the worst assets. The music is too loud, sounds cheap (may have worked 25 or so years ago but doesn't work here), tries far too hard to generate emotion and is far too predictably placed and often out of kilter. The sound is too echoey and often without warning or reason and makes some of the voices sound strange. The editing is haphazard and affects the coherence of some of the goings on and story structure.
Overall, lacklustre but far from unwatchable. 4/10 Bethany Cox