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The Changeling (1980)

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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 1
Fresh: 0 | Rotten: 1

audience

81

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 13,122

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Movie Info

Peter Medak's The Changeling is among a handful of films, including The Haunting (1963), Ghost Story (1981), and Lady in White (1988), that have successfully recreated the intimate, drawing-room atmosphere of supernatural horror fiction. After his wife and daughter are killed in a snowbound car accident, classical composer John Russell (George C. Scott) relocates from New York to Seattle to teach at his alma mater. Looking for a quiet place to rest and continue writing music, he is referred

R,

Mystery & Suspense, Horror

Aug 21, 2001

Vestron Video

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All Critics (18) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (3) | DVD (12)

Copiado à exaustão nas duas últimas décadas, encontra-se datado, mas a ótima atuação de Scott, o roteiro bem amarrado e a direção de Medak merecem aplausos.

September 7, 2005
Cinema em Cena

corny but creepy

September 19, 2004
Shadows on the Wall

Rises above convention with some fantastic acting and a careful layering of supernatural rumblings and clue-gathering that makes for a compelling two hours.

March 17, 2003 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

One of the very few films that truly, terribly horrifies. A classic.

December 24, 2002
Needcoffee.com

...a well-told ghost story...

October 2, 2002 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

A solidly made, genuinely creepy and effective ghost story of a type the movies rarely attempt and even more rarely get right.

July 30, 2002 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for The Changeling

[img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon13.gif[/img]
March 21, 2014
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

The Changeling stars George C. Scott as John Russell, a music composer whose life is shattered when an accident kills both his wife and young daughter. Relocating to Seattle, Russell rents a large Gothic style mansion from which to bury himself in his work. But he soon discovers he is not alone in the house, there is a ghost here and it desperately wants his help with something......

Not a teenager or a scantily clad bad actress in sight here, for this is a traditional haunted house spooker for the adults, one that has a distressing mystery at its core that's just aching to be solved. Chief screen writer Russell Hunter has based much of the film on an incidents that happened to him in real life when he moved into a house in Denver. If you believe him or not is not really the point, because it does not take away from just how well executed The Changeling is, both as a scary movie and a well thought out drama. There's limited characters in the narrative, thus keeping the film free from filler and the clumsy character set-ups that mar so many horror films these days. It's also worth noting that it doesn't suffer from dating either, and proves a haunted house tale can be effective in any decade if the writing and direction is spot on. The Changeling has both, plus a towering and believable performance from Scott leading the way.

Director Peter Medak clearly knows that an imposing house is a key element. Utilising the big spaces to emphasise Russell's loneliness, he sweeps his camera around the sets (this is not a real house, it's a brilliant mock-up creation by the designers) to give the feeling of a spirit observing proceedings. The house is always a main character and acts as the perfect backdrop to some ghostly goings on (excellent work from the sound department too). The chills are genuine, the attic room is creepy personified, a rubber ball, a wheelchair, a bath sequence, an old water well and even the gentle tinkling from a music box, all induce the hairs on the back of the neck to stand to attention. All played out to some lush unholy musical arrangements from Ken Wannberg (the music box theme composed by Howard Blake).

Setting it apart from conventional haunted house movies is that it has a most intriguing story to tell. One of murder, greed, deception and grief. The latter part is often forgotten when talk of The Changeling arises. John Russell is absolutely stricken with grief, this stops him from being one of those characters who you shake your head at because they refuse to leave a clearly troubled house. His grief process, which makes him the ideal host for what this spirit wants, means he has no fear, some unhappy ghost can't hurt him anymore than he is hurting anyway. It's a neat and seamless meditation on grief that's threaded into the story. The last quarter of the film slips into action territory, which is a little jarring given the smooth pacing Medak has favored up to that point. But although the scares have gone, the intelligent story has come full circle and the film closes down triumphantly without copping out or having resorted to unimaginative formula.

An essential viewing for those who like haunted house movies; especially if you like slow build and genuine mystery as well.
November 1, 2011
cancercapricorn2002
David Ladd

Super Reviewer

Piano keys, leaking faucets and a cobweb-wrapped wheelchair moving via invisible forces are among the diabolically understated supernatural events in 'The Changeling', a classy, slow-burn haunted house film which doesn't succumb to bloodshed or aberrant imagery to coax goosebumps from the audience. If it weren't for the uncommonly placid composure of Scott and a deflating ending, this would be applauded as one of the prime example of how to suffocate viewers with atmosphere. The most nail-biting scene is when a medium furiously scribbles messages from the poltergeist on paper. This scene obviously influenced 'Insidious' and a synonymous scene in a well was a impetus for 'The Ring'. 'The Changeling' may not be well-known, but it was a cerebral, astoundingly scary forefather for many possessed-estate movies to follow.
October 30, 2011
Cory Taylor

Super Reviewer

Although this movie confused the hell out of me and Angelina Jolie did not STOP crying through out it, I enjoyed seeing her stripped of her sexiness and getting down to some real gritty acting. For anyone who has children, you will find yourself wrenching as the minutes tick by. There are a hell of a lot of the minutes too I'd like to add.
July 17, 2011
theunknownhobo
Unknown Hobo

Super Reviewer

    1. John Russell: What do you want from me?! I did every thing I could!
    – Submitted by Jesse K (5 months ago)
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Latest News on The Changeling

October 6, 2006:
Like Horror Remakes? Get Ready for a Bunch More.
Professional remake house Platinum Dunes and Universal's genre arm (Rogue Pictures) have signed a...

Foreign Titles

  • The Changeling (1980) (DE)
  • The Changeling (1980) (UK)
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