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9/10
Chilling ghost story
jrs-814 June 2005
"The Changeling" tells the story of a composer (George C. Scott) who, as the film opens, loses his wife and daughter in a tragic accident. Getting away from it all, Scott buys an old home to get his mind right and to get back to doing the work he loves. Soon he discovers that his house is haunted and filled with secrets waiting to be revealed. To say much more then that would be unfair to the first time viewer.

Suffice to say this is a chilling film with several good scares that aren't achieved by manipulating the audience. By that I mean loud chords of music on the soundtrack or the unexpected cry of a cat or something like that. "The Changeling" works for its scares and succeeds. Another big reason the film is so well done is the performance by Scott. For a change the hero in a ghost story is not a wimp but a strong, self assured man who is going to fight to the bitter end to find the truth and get his life back. Very few actors could have pulled it off better then Scott.

The supporting cast is headed by Melvyn Douglas (in one of his last roles) and Scott's wife, Trish Van Devere who projects a look of total terror as well as anyone I have seen.

Two moments that stand out are the séance scene which is eerie and the unexpected arrival of a child's toy ball. This film will give you shivers. If you are a fan check it out and make sure to watch it with a loved one cuddling up against you with all the lights turned out.
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First-Rate Haunted Horror
BaronBl00d10 November 2001
George C. Scott loses his wife and daughter in a car accident, moves to Seattle, and rents a gigantic old mansion with a haunted secret past. This film is skillfully directed by Peter Medak who gets more that even he probably bargained from a solid cast of actors, a wonderful script, and one great-looking eerie old house. Medak creates tons of suspense with the barest sight of blood. This film reeks atmosphere. The house reeks atmosphere. Scott's performance and that of veteran Melvyn Douglass reek atmosphere. Doors creak, balls mysteriously bounce, water runs, windows break in the old house trying to tell Scott about the secret of a young child that once lived there. The script is fanciful yet well-written and very creative. Scott gives an atypically subdued performance that suggests passion, heartbreak, and tenacity. The rest of the performers are very good too. I cannot remember the last time Mr. Douglass gave a poor performance. Some of the scenes that really stand out in my mind are flashback sequences showing the terrible secret that has been hidden in the house for over 70 years. Medak doesn't have a huge budget to work with here, but this movie beats out newer haunted house films like the remake of The Haunting by leaps and bounds. This is one classy scare film!
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8/10
Very scary and atmospheric horror film
Idocamstuf13 March 2005
In this sadly forgotten horror film, George C. Scott plays a music composer who has just moved to Oregon to escape the painful memories of his wife and daughter who were killed in a car crash. He rents an old and secluded mansion from the historical society as a place to live. Soon after he moves into the house, strange occurrences begin.

This is one of those horror movies that can be scary without being bloody and gory. It simply relies on atmosphere and frightening, but subtle images to deliver its chills, and it works. I will never be able to understand that "R" rating mainly because there is only very mild profanity and there is no blood or gore. Anyway, I would recommend this film to anyone who enjoys a good scary ghost story. 8/10.
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9/10
A powerfully shocking movie if you let it be
choatelodge10 October 2003
I first saw 'The Changeling' in the mid-eighties and it has lost none of its edge. A few of the reviews I see below seem to be written by those who have read glowing reviews but just didn't get it: Comparisons with 'The Exorcist', a story of demonic possession, are inappropriate. This movie isn't a visual shock feast nor a gore fest, this is a powerful psychological drama. The penultimate ghost story. If you just sit back in a defensive posture and challenge the movie to scare you, you will lose out completely. If however you choose to get involved, you will find yourself going for one hell of a ride. Few scenes in moviedom rival the poignancy, for instance, of the disbelieving George C. Scott character when he is reviewing the tape of the seance and comes upon the inescapable evidence that there IS a paranormal presence in the house. Here I will make my own inappropriate comparison: In the context of this story, Scotts ultimately human and believable response and the collapse that follows is far scarier than Exorcist's Reagan spewing green puke, by a long shot.

And the little girl going alone, summoned into the haunted room in her house at night? Forget about it. My hair stands on end.

If 'The Changeling', watched at night doesn't give you a fright, then there are at least six 'Hallowe'en' movies on the rack that should suit your particular needs. The Changeling is something else: the fear of the spiritually macabre.
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10/10
Nice and Spooky
Gafke7 December 2003
This is one of my all time favorite ghost stories, right up there with "The Innocents," "The Haunting" and "Ringu."

George C. Scott plays John, a famous pianist and composer who has lost his wife and young daughter in a freak car accident. Grief stricken and heartbroken, he moves to Washington state and rents a wonderful old Gothic mansion. Surprise surprise! It's haunted.

This movie has everything. Dark, spooky stairways draped with dusty cobwebs, a boarded up room with a terrible secret, a shadowy seance scene, ghostly voices and frightening noises that echo through the huge house, political intrigue and a very solid looking ghost who scares the absolute hell out of anyone he shows himself to. It boasts a well thought out plot with several great twists and a very angry murder victim, who doesn't want to be at peace - he just wants revenge, and boy does he get it.

Fans of "Ringu" will enjoy this tale of murder, ghostly revenge and bodies thrown down wells. Just watch it, preferably on a dark and stormy night with all the lights turned off. I dare you.
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10/10
Does for Ghosts what AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON does for Werewolves!!!!!
IAN-Cinemaniac5 November 2003
THE CHANGELING is by far the scariest film I have ever seen. It's not because of scary monsters or gory F/X. This film has very few gory moments or F/X. It scares with great story telling, sounds and dark corners. It's actually quite a sad story as well. The acting is excellent and the director is quite accomplished. I am a huge movie fanatic and HORROR is one of my favorite genres; and I realize there are very few actually good horror movies, so take my word this is great film making. WATCH IT ALONE and you will be very unpleased by how scared you are. This is not a film to watch with a group. I tried that once and everyone thought it was boring. You need the quiet to pay attention to build the natural tension and fear. Enjoy. They don't make them better than this. This is up there with AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON as the best of the horror genre!!!
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10/10
A Real Haunted House Thriller!
darrendebari28 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Horror films have become caricature's over the years. They contain characters, situations, and elements you've seen before. The exceptions have been THE SIXTH SENSE and SCREAM. THE SIXTH SENSE cleverly turned the ghost genre on it's head and SCREAM mocked the slasher genre while still providing some good thrills. However, there is only one film when it comes to the haunted house genre.

Peter Medak's THE CHANGELING is everything a horror film should be. It's suspenseful, well acted, contains an intelligent plot, and uses no special effects or gore to obtain it's objective. It generates real fear.

George C. Scott plays John Russell. He's a man trying to endure the tragic loss of his wife and daughter. He rents a mysterious, old house from the Historical Society where he can compose out of. He's an accomplished piano player and takes a job teaching piano at a University. He's got quite the reputation as the size of the class is monstrous.

Soon, things begin to get strange. Every morning there are loud, banging noises from upstairs in the house. These noises lead to a bedroom where a child's wheelchair is found and an old music box that plays an identical song to the one Russell's been composing. It gets even more terrifying from there as Russell investigates the history of the house with the help of Claire, a beautiful member of the Historical Society, played by Trish Van Devere. Scott and Van Devere have a natural chemistry and it may be due to the fact that they were really married.

Russell finds out some surprising secrets after a terrifying Seance. The secrets lead him to Senator Joseph Carmichel, played by the great Melvyn Douglas. Carmichel tries to keep everything quiet but the dead have a way of tormenting the living and keeping old secrets alive.

A great horror film can derive fear from even the simplest things. In this film a child's ball rolling down the stairs will make your hair stand up on end. There's also a piano striking a chord without a player, and a glass flying off a table and shattering during a Seance. This film is filled with those simple things and a whole lot more.

Today's films are filled with quick cuts, computer generated effects, and loud scores. This film achieves it's objective in a much more subtle fashion. It's characters are real people and not just reactors. It's story is intelligent and well told. Finally, it's effect is chilling and stays with you long after the experience, the mark of a truly great horror film.
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8/10
Absolutely Horrifying.
TheTwistedLiver30 January 2003
The first time I saw this film, I was about four years old. I'm not sure if I have slept right since, I am now twenty four and it still haunts me.

The tale of a lonely musician, who loses his wife and daughter in a terrible accident, and then decides to rent an old mansion in the pacific norhtwest, only to find the house has a history of it's own. The film is paced well, set perfectly, and reveals a darker side of the bourgeouis than most are willing to explore. A masterpiece.
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10/10
Most enjoyable edge of the seat spooky
davedeb200322 October 2003
Never seen the late George C Scott in a film like this before,but i think he just about got away with it.Before you watch it make sure you can watch it without interuptions,prefarbly when its dark,that way you'll get more involved.

The film is about a ageing music composer who,after a car accident in which is family are killed,buys a mansion,all is well to start with but soon there is loud banging at night and soon we see a medium being called in to find the ghost of a young boy called Joseph who was murdered in the house 70 years ago,Mr. Scott then trundles through the film trying to find the reason he was killed and by who.A totally enjoyable super natural movie that as a few twists and turns,a few scenes will make the hair on your arms stand up,having said all this the ending was a little predictable.
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8/10
More Chilling Than I Had Remembered
ccthemovieman-127 April 2006
I found this to be a pretty solid haunted-house thriller...and better than I remembered so I have changed a few things in this review. The cinematography was admirable, mainly in the first half of the film and the special-effects near the end were excellent. That was capped off by a wheelchair chasing Trish Van Devere and a railing catching fire. In all, kind of bizarre and interesting scene.

George C. Scott stars and Van Devere and an aged Melvyn Douglas provide noted supporting roles. There are very few dry spots and overall, its a decent horror film and not an expensive DVD purchase - so grab it, if you can. The suspense build beautifully. Nice direction by Peter Medak.
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7/10
Goes for old style chills and thrills
AlsExGal8 March 2017
A man, recovering from the recent deaths of his wife and child in an automobile accident in New York state, moves across the country to Washington. There he tries to move on with his life as a musical composer by moving into a large Victorian style house in the country. Strange things begin to happen, however, water taps turned on, a window smashing on its own, his daughter's rubber ball inexplicably bouncing down a towering staircase and, above all, thunderous bangs periodically echoing throughout the house for no apparent reason.

The man realizes that something is trying to communicate with him in this house, and he begins an investigation of the building's history. And there's something, something going on in that tiny dusty cob web strewn room at the very top of the house, the one with a music box and a small wheelchair.

George C. Scott is a solid presence in this film as the man bewildered by this huge old home, with Scott's wife, the elegant Trish Van Devere, cast as a member of the local historical society instrumental in having secured him this house. Melvyn Douglas appears as a U.S. senator who is somehow related to the house.

Director Peter Medak lets the suspense build slowly in this intelligent Canadian made ghost story. Rather than going for terror, this film goes for subtle chills. There's a seance scene that is genuinely eerie, as Medak's camera returns to that small room and then starts to glide down the stairs towards the seance participants trying to communicate with the spirit.

Some ghost films are all special effects and over-the-top performances of terror. Like the best of the classy, more mature films that explore the supernatural, The Changeling never goes for cheap thrills. This thriller's eeriness is analogous to a tap on the shoulder by a cold finger, only to turn around and find there is nobody there.

It may be a cliché to say it, but, in this case, it's true: if you watch this film, be sure to do so with the lights turned low.
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10/10
one of my favourite ghost stories.
NateWatchesCoolMovies4 December 2016
I love a good old fashioned creaky haunted house story, and HBO's The Changeling is one of the best, and most under appreciated spooky tales out there. Like I say time and time again (no doubt sounding like a broken record at this point), real effective horror lies in atmosphere and the buildup of tension, chilling our spines instead of bombarding us with tasteless dismemberment. The Changeling takes its time in establishing cozy atmosphere and engulfs us in a gigantic New England mansion (actually Shaughnessy for anyone who can tell), inhabited by the lonely, desperate ghost of a young boy who met a tragic fate there many decades earlier. George C. Scott is the musical composer who moves in all by himself, seeking solitude as he nurses the grief of losing both his wife and daughter in a car accident. He's barely there one night when strange things begin to happen; rhythmic banging from some far off room, eerie crying noises, doors opening and closing of their own accord and a mysterious toy bouncing ball that ominously follows him around. Saddled with an already troubled mind, he sets out to learn the origins of the ghost and resolve the situation, putting it to rest. The story is smart and succinct, involving ancestral deception and an elderly US Congressman (Melvyn Douglas, stealing every scene) with ties to the past. It's never too complicated or busy, always keeping it's cool and reigning in the frightening moments in a minimal fashion that pays off greatly. The lush, overgrown Vancouver locale makes a great setting, almost Stephen King like, and the house itself is a towering cluster of dusty hallways and wide open ceilings that shield ancient secrets and watch over anyone who sets foot inside with an unseen eye. I never thought a bouncy ball and a small children's wheelchair could raise such goosebumps, but when used as well as they are here, in scenes which set up the creep factor wonderfully, they'll get to you big time. Scott is weary and wary, but has a strong sense of compassion for the restless spirit that shows in his baleful, ice blue eyes and gives him the charisma a horror protagonist needs. HBO original films are almost always hidden gems of humble craftsmanship and breezy, effortless skill, whatever the genre. Here they've tried their hand at the ghostly fright flick, and wrought one of the best I've ever seen.
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9/10
How did you die, Joseph?
Spikeopath19 October 2011
The Changeling is directed by Peter Medak and co-written by Russell Hunter, William Gray and Diana Maddox. It stars George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere, Melvyn Douglas, John Colicos and Jean Marsh. Plot finds 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 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, as Nicole Kidman starrer The Others proved 21 years later, 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.

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. And there's a séance! Oh yes indeed, a séance that's tape recorded, more chills down the spine on the way there as well. 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 favoured 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. 9/10
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10/10
EXCELLENT to this day!
shippermd7 July 2005
This is one of my all-time favorite scary movies! I wish they'd make MORE just like this one! It has no blood/guts, gore or cussing yet it's an incredibly frightening movie!:)

Memorable scenes:

The wheelchair The bouncing ball The Seances The House! That Music Box! The Well The Medallion

Memorable and unforgettably chilling sounds in the movie:

That rhythmic banging! The ghosts voice The musicbox music The sound effects The sound of a ball bouncing Water running

These are among the most frightening ever filmed! (imho)

I watch this movie to this day and STILL get goosebumps! My kids also love it. Do not watch it at night in the dark, alone, I warned you!:) You will never forget this movie! Watch it only alone or with others who really like quieter,spooky haunted house type movies.

I literally wore out my VHS copy and got it on DVD. WORTH IT!

I wish they would've made a sequel. Why more movies of this exact genre aren't made, I don't know.
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10/10
one of the greatest classics of horror and a unrelenting ghost story .
feakes15 October 2015
I first saw the Changeling in 1981 I was 11 years old and this movie has stayed with me ever since. a Better horror story then the Amityville horror . And a greater ghost story then the Haunting.

John Russell is a world famous composer and conductor who loses his family in a tragic auto accident. four months later Russell decides to make changes in his life. He is given a teaching job at a university in Seattle. Russell decides to look for a house providing the rent is cheap and a friend suggests the historical society that would rent him a older historical home cheap. With the help of the lovely historical society agent Claire Norman John finds the perfect house at Chessman park road. t s a sprawling four story mansion. The kind they don't make anymore. Russell falls in love with the house and signs the lease. Almost as soon as he moves in mysterious things happen. And these things lead to a unthinkable end. John finds a old room a child's room hidden in a attic. a wheelchair fitted for a small boy sits in a corner. the ghost shows John how and reveals why he was murdered and demands vengeance even at the cost of John's life.

The Changeling is that rare instance of a horror movie so full of suspense and fear. and it stays with you. the originality of it is still fresh even 35 years after I first saw it. a true guilty pleasure. Very few films in my mind can even equal it. Worth seeing again and again.
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7/10
The Amityville What?
Jonny_Numb1 September 2007
While I am not a big fan of haunted house films, the American public has always been fascinated by the notion of restless spirits at work where we sleep. I consider Mario Bava's "Shock" the high point of this subgenre, though Peter Medak's "The Changeling" comes awfully close in terms of suspense and atmosphere. George C. Scott plays John Russell, a NYC composer/pianist who loses his wife and daughter in a freak accident; decimated, he relocates to Seattle, quickly assuming a teaching position and living in a vacant mansion owned by the local historical society; not long after, Russell is awakened by an inexplicable loud banging, and uncovers a boarded up attic room that portends a revelation I won't give away. The film avoids convention very well (for example, the relationship between Russell and Realtor Trish Van Devere never turns romantic), instead opting for an old-fashioned campfire-story quality where the supernatural is left to our imaginations. While "Shock" was awash in Bava's painterly image overkill (which suited his purposes), Medak is minimalist to a fault: there are some spectacular high- and low-angle shots taken from inside and outside the mansion (like omniscient POV shots from select crevices and corridors) that turn it into a character unto itself; also note the claustrophobic emphasis placed on characters in narrow corridors and stairwells. The first hour of "The Changeling" is very effective, building slowly to two brilliant scenes: the first involves a chest-tightening séance; the second involves Russell listening to the recording of it. But, as is inevitable with film, the plot begins to unravel in its second half, as a string of dark secrets implicating a U.S. Senator (Melvyn Douglas) comes into play. The screenwriters admirably keep the developments as spare as possible, thus maximizing their intended effect--by the end, we are fully convinced that Russell, in his attempts to 'liberate' this spirit, is also trying to purge himself of the grief over his loss. "The Changeling" is a straight-faced, wonderfully subtle horror film, buoyed by fine performances--Scott especially, whose unlikely presence here lends the character and situation a pathos it might not have had otherwise. Think of it as a refreshing alternative to "The Amityville Horror" (both versions).

(By the way, "The Changeling"'s R rating is deceptive; while some scenes are intense (not explicitly violent), it would drift between a PG or PG-13 by today's standards.)
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9/10
Literally chills the soul
baumer21 August 1999
Warning: Spoilers
May contain spoilers:

I haven't seen many haunted house movies in my time. I love horror films but either there aren't that many about houses with personality or I have just been to Jasonized. Either way, that is going to change for me. Because after experiencing how this movie made me feel, I am going to go out and rent as many of the classics about haunted houses as I can find. The Changeling is everything that The Haunting (99) should have been. This film creeps you out sometimes more than you can handle. Where as the Haunting used 80 million dollars worth of special effects, The Changeling used lighting, sound, subtlety and an intriguing and scary story to achieve the ultimate in horror, scares, chills, shivers and your hair standing straight on the back of your neck.

George C. Scott plays a man who has just recently lost his wife and young daughter to a freak accident on the highway in the dead of winter. He leases a rather large house supposedly for some solitude so he can work on his musical piece. But then strange things begin to happen. At first he passes them off as just an old house having a personality of its own. But then when the noise persist at the exact time of day and for the same amount of time, he gets suspicious. After doing a little research, he realizes that not only is the house haunted, but it may be trying to tell him something. And this is where the story becomes creepy. I haven't really felt a sense of unease in many movies. The Blair Witch was one of them, and The Changeling made me feel similar to that experience. What this film does to perfection is uses what it has to its advantage. There are lots of darkly lit rooms, strange noises that apparently come from the upstairs bedroom, and bouncing balls. The Changeling is a scary movie and it would have been without the ball, but when you put the ball into the scenario, you are frozen with fear. And for the first time in the film when the ball comes into frame, Scott looks petrified. Before this incident, he seemed bewildered, almost curious. He couldn't understand why all this was happening. But after the ball, he is frightened. Even if whatever it is that is haunting this house seems to be somewhat friendly towards him, he is still scared.

I found myself yelling at the screen, " Get OUT! " I wanted them to leave the house. That is how frightened I was for the characters in the film. And when a movie can do that to you, you have to admire it. I loved The Changeling. I love how it made me feel and I love how it altered my physical appearance ( hair standing straight on end ). If you want to see a scary film that will restore your faith in horror movie, see this one. This is a perfect example of how horror films were so amazing in the 70's and 80's. They are scary and pay attention to details. I am not sure why films today can't do that, there are exceptions of course ( Blair Witch, Sixth Sense ) but mostly we get crap like Urban Legend and Idle Hands and whatever. This film however knows the true roots of horror and it knows how to scare. My recommendation is to watch this with all the lights off on a stormy night. You will be afraid. You will be.
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10/10
Creep City!
Billy_Crash26 January 2009
This ghost story has some of the creepiest moments I've ever seen in a horror - and it does so without blood, guts or torture.

There's a full-blown mystery for George C. Scott and his real-life wife Trish to solve, after his character moves into a new home in the outskirts of Seattle. Who knew a rental would come with so much baggage.

Most importantly, the story is solid, the acting is first-rate and those little moments or terror and fear have a lot of impact.

If you love horror, especially ghost stories, do not pass this one up. I'm very selective about the movies I choose to own and this was one of the first DVDs I ever purchased. The film does not disappointment. Shut off the lights, curl up on the couch, and get ready for creep city.
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10/10
A Truly Creepy Experience!
Thrashman888 December 2003
Warning: Spoilers
By today's Standards, "The Changeling" would seem tame and unscary, but truth is, this film is scarier than anything that's been out there for years! It's a ghost story, about a crippled child who is murdered by his greedy father to replace him with a healthy boy. The ghost of this child roams in the attic of the old house where he was murdered. George C.Scott's character, a music teacher who has suffered the tragic loss of his family in a freak accident, rents the house and becomes aware that there's "something" wrong there. Again, you've probably heard this story line a dozen times before, but "The Changeling" is brilliantly executed and the performance of George C.Scott is, in my opinion, very down to earth and real. Someone in this section said that his performance was "wooden" (and gave Keanu Reeves as an example), but I beg to differ. He is an old man who, like many of us would, refuses the idea of having a ghost in his house. His acting was very realistic. Although the movie moves at a rather "slow" pace, it never ceases to be interesting. It's one of those movies that needs to be seen late at night, surrounded by darkness and put full attention to. I remember I was scared out of my pants when I saw it 20 years ago and I've recently purchased it and have seen it many times again, now with my wife, who also happens to love it. One thing I will never understand is the "R" rating this film got. There are no nude scenes, no graphic violence, virtually no blood...there's not one curse in the dialog! Anyway, it still is a very creepy movie and if you'd like to see a well done suspense story, don't hesitate in watching this one!
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9/10
Dreary, sad and creepy, a thrilling horror film
TheBlueHairedLawyer23 September 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I got The Changeling in a boxed bunch of films: Audrey Rose (1977), the Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976), Magic (1978) and the Changeling all seem to have similar-sounding background scores, although composed and performed by different artists. The Changeling tells the eerie and melancholy story of a lonely and depressed man who has lost his wife and daughter in a freak automobile accident. He moves to Oregon to teach music, only to find that the ancient and decrepit old house he's bought isn't just old, it's haunted by a ghost who needs his murder solved. As the plot goes on, it turns out that this murder was beyond disturbing, and that it was so planned out that somehow the murder victim was never on record... instead he was replaced with someone else before the cops could find out! This frightening and mysterious story, filmed in Washington, isn't the most popular movie but it has a 7/10 overall user rating for a reason. The soundtrack was amazing and beautiful, the foggy scenery mystifying and spooky (at first I thought the film was Canadian because it shares many of the same types of scenery that you see in Eastern Canada), excellent acting and a thrilling and at times disturbing plot that keeps you watching from beginning to end.

Just how far will things go in The Changeling? Well, you'll have to watch it to find out!
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9/10
Changeling Review
filmbantha28 February 2009
I used to be terrified of horror movies when i was younger, i think everyone can remember their first glimpse of a scary film, but gradually as i grew up horror films no longer had the same effect on me. It now takes a hell of a lot for me to be scared by a movie and The changeling took me completely by surprise. I had no idea what to expect, i had just heard that it was a forgotten classic of the genre and it truly is an extremely creepy and unsettling horror. Unlike modern movies that rely on gore and cheap scares to entertain their audiences, the changeling showcases how an emphasis on psychological scares can be far more terrifying for the viewer.

As well as being a disturbing horror, the changeling is a clever mystery film with George C. Scott playing the role of John Russell, a distraught man who has recently lost his wife and only child. Attempting to escape the trauma and leave the past behind him John moves into a new house but in doing so is confronted by a spirit that constantly plagues the house with strange disturbances. I do not want to reveal too much of the plot but it is a very intelligent movie, with a lot to offer for the avid horror fan. This is an exceptional film, genuinely unsettling and thoroughly entertaining throughout. Not many people have heard of the changeling which is a shame, i would rate it as one of the scariest films i have ever seen, not to be missed.

9/10

If you liked this film, you will also enjoy these:

Don't Look Now, Poltergeist, The Orphanage, The Shining
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9/10
Original and inventive film, not your typical ghost story.
ShutUpLars3 February 2009
While on vacation, composer John Russell helplessly witnesses the death of his beloved wife and child. In an attempt to process his grief and start over, he takes a job offer across the country. He rents an immense mansion and starts work at the local university.

Things which at first seem typical of an old house start happening, noises, etc. But as these occurrences intensify into undeniably supernatural events, John finds himself pulled into a complex and terrifying mystery that he puts all the usual fears aside and purses the answers to relentlessly.

What struck me about this film is how really heartbreaking it is. You feel George C. Scott's devastation over and over again. His grief is so palpable that it seems this is the very reason that the spirit in the house connects with him. He is told by outsiders that the house "doesn't want" anyone to live there, but he alone is permitted to stay, and he is the one resident of this house that the spirit reaches out to because he is a man who would give anything in the world to have been able to save the ones he lost.

This is a classic, and by far superior to many films in this genre. An interesting side note is that the reel-to-reel recording of the séance is the earliest foray I've seen into what would now be EVP.
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8/10
just follow the bouncing ball
ptb-831 January 2006
Need chills that are multiplyin'? might lose control......and actually scream...? the electrifyin' CHANGELING is your film. Quite simply this is THE haunted house chiller of the late 20th C. The Robert Wise thriller from 1963 THE HAUNTING is a very good close second and for laffs thrills and screams for fun you might find it's a dead heat between the 1958 HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL and the 1973 LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE....but...kiddies...THE CHANGELING is the one that will have you climb up the seat grimacing and making weird 'oh no oh no' sounds. This haunted house film delivers. I used to run a cinema and the thrill of screening this pic...especially on a midnight to dawn marathon was glee itself. Teens just freaked out completely with genuine fear. Some would come into the foyer and admit it was too scary and would not go back into the cinema. Then the whole placed would lift with some terrific shock and the noise of really scared people would burst through the whole building. You should try this at home. Invite friends over, turn off all the lights and ...enjoy. . THE CHANGELING is also one of the most genuinely sad and heartfelt films about family tragedy so skilfully created. Director Peter Medak has pre dated THE SIXTH SENSE by 20 years with a tale of dread and ghosts and creatively, powerfully drops real frights one after the other onto the startled faces of his audience. The séance is one of the most chilling ever...and I defy anyone to be in the seat when they 'follow the bouncing ball'. See this one tonight.....late.
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Chilling, frightening, lavish.
roddmatsui2 August 2004
Talk about FUN...this one is FUN.

I'm with the people who say this is one of the most frightening haunted house movies ever. For me, it really is, and it's influenced many movies that came after it, including "The Others."

Like Robert Wise's "The Haunting," this film's ethereal manifestations are largely auditory: unidentifiable, rhythmic booming sounds coming from deep within the house, etc.; and in this case there is an amazing stereo mix that exploits 3D effects and pulls you into the scenes. It sounds great. I wish "The Haunting" (the real one, not that other thing) had such a mix!

George C. Scott is amazing as a composer who absolutely refuses to be frightened by the weird phenomena, ever. Watch his face throughout the proceedings--this character is a tough cookie, but most people who watch this one don't fare so well. Well worth a rent or a buy.
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Best Haunted House Movie Ever Made
aliasjackbauer13 March 2004
I was working at the movie theatre in Winnipeg, Canada that played this film in 1980, and I can honestly say that except for the original "Halloween", I've never heard audiences scream so much as they did watching this film.

Being a Canadian film, it got a pretty decent release in Canada, and played to packed houses at the Odeon Theatre in Winnipeg for months. The first time I actually sat down in the auditorium and watched, I was just as terrified as everyone else.

I've since seen it numerous times, and while nothing will ever match that 'initial' high, it still scares the crap out of me every time (and I am a horror movie fanatic) - especially that damn red ball and the bathtub (you just KNOW Robert Zemeckis has seen this movie - how else to explain the homage that is What Lies Beneath?). I LOVE gore films, suspense films, thrillers - ie: every different permutation of "the horror film" - this one stands out in my Top 5 - it's right up there with Halloween in terms of clammy-hands-inducing terror.

If you're looking for other under-rated gems of our youth, see:

Let's Scare Jessica to Death, Don't be Afraid of the Dark, Deathdream, Black Christmas, Someone is Watching Me (John Carpenter's terrifying and almost impossible to find made for tv movie), Rituals.
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