The Changeling Reviews

The Changeling

George C. Scott becomes the unwilling instrument of a ghost’s revenge in this supernatural thriller. ‘ ‘A superior haunted house thriller.’ ‘ (Variety)DVD Features:
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When a recent widower (the wonderfully overemphatic George C. Scott ) moves into an antique Washington mansion, his realization that he may not be the only resident leads him toward a deadly secret that refuses to remain buried….The best haunted-house film since the legendary Haunting, this potent, classy combination of the mystery and horror genres eschews explicit gore and dumb shocks in exchange for a subtle creepiness that occasionally builds to a terrifying peak (watch out for that seance scene!). The result is a satisfyingly intelligent horror film with an intriguing dash of Watergate-era paranoia. Director Peter Medak went on to direct the considerably more gratuitous and somewhat less effective Romeo Is Bleeding and The Krays. –Andrew Wright

Rating: (out of 377 reviews)

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5 thoughts on “The Changeling Reviews

  1. Review by The Groove for The Changeling
    Rating:
    There’s something about low-budget horror movies that have a greater impact than their Hollywood counterparts. I thought I’d seen every good horror movie on the market until a co-worker had me borrow this DVD. 1980’s “The Changeling” is a quintessential low-budget vintage horror movie, done in that classic late-1970’s style. George C. Scott is a widower who is walking wounded following the freakish death of his wife and child (without giving away details, the opening scene is a hair-raiser and sets the tone for the rest of the movie). He moves into a giant, towering mansion to work on his music and recover from his tragic loss. But a few moments later, weird things happen inside the house. Piano keys play by themselves. Voices start speaking. And loud, banging noises happen out of nowhere. Come to find out, the house is haunted by a child. The movie then pursues a murder mystery in which we discover the boy’s identity and the history of the house. Unlike most thrillers, “The Changeling” doesn’t have much gore, but it has enough intense and spooky moments to make this film earn an R rating. Instead of aiming for shock, this movie effectively works on the viewer’s emotions and has a reasonably interesting plot. I wouldn’t call it the scariest film ever made, but if you’re into horror movies of the haunted house variety, then “The Changeling” should rank high on your list of DVDs to get.

  2. Review by Stephen Moser for The Changeling
    Rating:
    This has gotta be one of the scariest movies ever made. It is totally terrifying. It is just plain scary, creepy, horrifying, shocking,frightening and eerie.
    It starts out with the main character(played by George C. Scott), his wife and daughter pushing their broken down car down the street. Then his wife and daughter get hit by a truck. About 5 months later, the main character rents a house. But he soon finds out the the huge house is not unoccupied and that its ghostly inhabitant is not at rest.
    But this is more than just another haunted house film. It is a truly frightening ghost story. There are some scenes that are just totally horrifying. The scene with the sceance recording and the voices is pretty creepy. And there is one scene I just can’t watch(I’m serious, I was afraid to see it). I won’t tell you which scene. I’ll just say that it has to do with the girl and the well (see this movie and you’ll see). There is one scene which, in my opinion, has one of the best portrayal of fear in horror films. This is a truly terrifying film. If you like horror movies, then see The Changeling. Trust me, it’s scary. Very Scary. If you can’t take horror, then I wouldn’t recommend you see this(you might just faint).
    I’ve seen this movie twice. Both times scared me(though it’s never as good the second time). I know I’ve said this about other things, but this time I really really really really mean it…I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS!Did you find this review helpful? If so please vote.

  3. Review by Wes Cotton for The Changeling
    Rating:
    Ok…honestly. I’ve seen a lot of movies…especially horror movies, and I’ve never had one affect me like this one did. On the recommendation of my father, I watched it for the first time about 4 years ago…at night, of course (like a dummy).George C. Scott is amazing in this film…and the tragedy that befalls him in the film’s opening sequence is sure to suck you right in. Following this, Scott is forced to make a single life for himself and he moves into an extremely large and historic house to compose and teach music. The house is a character in itself…perhaps one of the creepiest I have ever seen (the night scene of Scott walking across the front yard still chills me…very, very spooky). As another reviewer mentioned, the house is so vast that it is unimaginable to think of ONE person occupying it. Well, in this case, it’s actually one person…and one supernatural murdered boy who has one heck of a story to tell. I don’t want to tell that story…but it will be revealed to you sure enough if you can make it through the unrelenting and horrific duration of this film. But not to give away too much…Certain scenes in the film chilled me to the very bone (the seance scene, the quest for the leaky faucet sound, and many more.) Just when I thought I had survived it…the scenes kept coming…scaring the breath out of me. In a nutshell…if you are bothered by ghosts, darkness, ghostly voices, or anything paranormal…you WILL without a doubt be scared stiff by this one. I had trouble sleeping for at least 3 or 4 nights…and I was about 22 at the time. The film makes excellent use of camera angles and movement, darkness, and sound effects…in essence scaring you with what you can’t see but know is there. The music is also extremely unsettling at times. But enough said…the only true way to understand the horror of this film is to experience it. BUT BEWARE…YOU WERE WARNED. I am almost 28 now, and still would not sit alone in my living room at night and watch this…unless I felt like forcing a little case of insomnia. EXCELLENT FILM THOUGH…A MUST SEE!
    IF YOU CAN TAKE IT.THANKS.

  4. Review by Dave for The Changeling
    Rating:
    Although I have heard much praise for this movie over the years, I had not seen it until a few weeks ago. And I can see where all the positivity came from. The movie was dead on with the idea that you don’t have to do anything visually appealing to score a hit with your audience. Although it had its visual moments (such as it’s haunting finale), a lot of it was due to eerie noises and subtle reactions (with no annoying overacting) from star George C. Scott. One way I identify a good horror movie is if the movie (or part of the movie) sticks with me for a while. This movie did that with the brief shot of the wheelchair sitting at the top of the stairs, looking down at the 2 of them. It’s very creepy, and it stays with you, along with a few other moments in the film. The dvd transfer is great (as i had rented a vhs version as well and compared the two), it has wonderfully dark scenery and great sound. Unfortunately the disc has only bios, but to have the movie in such great quality, it’s no big deal. More people should see this movie, it’s not getting the right amount of attention. Rest assured, you will definately get your money’s worth with this one. And stay out of the attic.

  5. Review by Michael R Gates for The Changeling
    Rating:
    Director Peter Medak’s THE CHANGELING is a highly entertaining and very creepy old-fashioned ghost story. It stars award-winning actor George C. Scott as John Russell, a musical composer who still grieves over the tragic deaths of his wife and young daughter (the film opens with the accident in which they are killed). In an attempt to put the loss behind him and move on with his life, Russell accepts a teaching position and moves to another town, where he also rents a rather dilapidated old mansion. It doesn’t take long for him to realize that his new domicile is haunted, and when he learns that the ghost is that of a young boy who was stealthily murdered in the early 1900s, he throws himself wholeheartedly into the task of solving the mysterious crime. He is assisted in the endeavor by the real-estate agent who arranged his rental contract, played by Scott’s wife Trish Van Devere.This film follows the old-school, Hitchcockian method of sucking the unwitting audience into the fantasy and thereby creating a genuine visceral horror. Unlike a lot of more contemporary genre fare, THE CHANGELING subtly builds tension by first concentrating on character development. Then, once the audience has some empathy for the protagonists, the details of the haunting and the related crime slowly unfold as the film’s atmosphere becomes more & more eerie and more & more unsettling. So when the film’s scariest events finally take place, the audience has been psychologically primed for being genuinely spooked.The acting in this film is superb. In contrast to the arrogant, flamboyantly self-assured characters that Scott is generally famous for playing, his John Russell is a sensitive and vulnerable man who seems truly concerned with the plight of others, and Scott delivers an exceptional performance that is just this side of stupendous. It’s a shame that he wasn’t offered more roles such as this. The always beautiful Trish Van Devere does a great turn as the real-estate agent who assists Russell, and she does an especially good job and exuding terror when she is confronted vis-à-vis by things that go bump in the night. Also turning in a wonderful performance is the highly revered Melvyn Douglas, here portraying a rather smarmy politician in one of his last roles. Genre fans will recognize Mr. Douglas from an early performance as Roger Penderel in another spook-house film, James Whale’s classic THE OLD DARK HOUSE.Like some of its notable predecessors, this old-fashioned ghost story creates lots of gooseflesh and increases the heart rate without resorting to lots of gratuitous gore or stomach-churning make-up effects. So keep in mind, then, that fans who prefer only blood-and-guts horror may find THE CHANGELING a bit slow going. However, anyone who enjoys great acting, great story-telling, and deep-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach psychological scares will really enjoy watching this oft-overlooked gem.

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