The Changeling

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

81%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 21

79%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 13,669
User image

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 Claire Norman (Trish Van Devere) at the Seattle Historical Preservation Society. Claire shows John a large, sparsely furnished estate in the outlying countryside. He takes the house, appreciating its remoteness and the solitude it might afford, and diverts himself by renovating and settling in. He even starts to compose, putting aside his older work in favor of a new, sentimental piece for the piano. It is not long, however, before he begins having nightmares about the accident that killed his wife and daughter. Possibly because of this trauma, he is open to communications from the house's ghostly occupants. Pursuing a loud, repetitive pounding noise in an upper room, he stumbles on the apparition of a young boy drowning in a tub. Working together with Claire, John discovers frightening parallels between this vision and buried events from the house's past. Horror writer M.R. James once said that his goal as a writer was to make the reader feel "pleasantly uncomfortable." Those looking for a similar experience in movies will appreciate The Changeling as a gem in the horror genre.

Watch it now

Cast

George C. Scott
as John Russell
Trish Van Devere
as Claire Norman
Melvyn Douglas
as Sen. Joe Carmichael
Jean Marsh
as Joanna Russell
Barry Morse
as Dr. Pemberton
J.B. Douglas
as Eugene Carmichael
James Douglas
as Eugene Carmichael
Madeleine Sherwood
as Mrs. Norman
Roberta Maxwell
as Eva Lingstrom
Bernard Behrens
as Prof. Robert Lingstrom
Frances Hyland
as Elizabeth Grey
Ruth Springford
as Minnie Huxley
Helen Burns
as Leah Harmon
Eric Christmas
as Albert Harmon
J. Kenneth Campbell
as Security Guard
Janne Mortil
as Linda Grey
Terence Kelly
as Sergeant Durton
Anna Hagan
as Secretary
Antonia Rey
as Estancia
Sammy Smith
as Doorman
Paul Rothery
as Terry Grey
Hagan Beggs
as Coroner
View All

Critic Reviews for The Changeling

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (3)

  • The Changeling is a superior haunted house thriller.

    Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • The leaps made by Scott's agile mind in identifying both victim and usurper leave logic and credence on the starting block.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
  • If it only took craftsmanship to make a haunted house movie, The Changeling would be a great one.

    Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Chills and thrills, mounds of suspense, and a genuinely crafted atmosphere that makes you wonder what terror lies behind each corner inside the sprawling, ancient mansion.

    May 7, 2019 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • The Changeling is an icily tense horror which bathes its events in an eerie and otherworldly atmosphere.

    Oct 30, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Director Peter Medak opts for exposition and atmosphere over jump-scares and other cheap dramatic devices.

    Sep 10, 2018 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Changeling

  • Mar 15, 2019
    If you want to read the review I wrote for this, go to letterboxd.com/HankIsDead514. I can no longer post long reviews on here and I'm not writing two separate reviews for the same movie.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Dec 18, 2016
    An engaging ghost story that deserves more credit for its twisty plot, uncomfortable atmosphere and Medak's refined direction than for being actually scary (even though it does have its creepy moments), and it boasts a very fine performance by George C. Scott.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 21, 2014
    [img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon13.gif[/img]
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Jul 28, 2013
    It's ending may loose the intimate focus that made the rest of the film so unnerving, but there is still a lot to like here. George C. Scott's performance enhances the emotional qualities of the story, and the POV shots are quite scary.
    Alec B Super Reviewer

The Changeling Quotes

News & Features