1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Friday, October 1, 2010

[7.00/10] The Changeling (1980)


The Changeling (1980)

"The Changeling" is a spooky story about a haunted house, that sounds a bit ordinary, as a premise, but is actually more complex than the average ghost story. This movie is kind of a hybrid of an old-fashioned ghost story and a crime story. The elements mix together pretty well as the movie has a few haunting moments along with quite a bit of mystery. Sure, there are the usual horror clich├ęs but they're all done very effectively and keep you watching and wondering what the haunting is all about. It has a slow, suspenseful pace and interesting characters. George does a fair job, and he does carry the entire film almost single-handedly, and the leads are each given one fleeting emotive moment to heighten our engagement. The most terrifying moment occurs through Trish Van Devere's character, Claire Norman. Her expression of genuine fear is terrifying and very believable. The cinematography of the film is good - the sets are moody and perfectly fit the tone and atmosphere of the story. However, it doesn't have a particularly individual stamp on it. Lots of steady-cam tracking shots are employed by the minimalist Peter Medak, and they're rather effective here. This film manages to be spooky without descending into camp, and suspenseful without overdoing it. "The Changeling" is simple, yet effective and wonderfully subtle horror film, though it feels a bit dated for today's standards, and while spooky, it's not scary at all.

  • My Rating: 7.00/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 79% (7.3/10)
  • IMDb: 7.3/10

8 comments:

Demon Hunter said...

I've always wanted to see this but never got around to it. I'll have to rent it. :-D

Jaccstev said...

At first I thought it's the review for Clint Eastwood film. Never heard about this one.

Nebular said...

I've always wanted to see this one as well, and I finally did it, 30 years after its release :) It was good, but if I have to be honest I expected a lot more, since it was marked as 'one of the scariest horror movies of all time'.

Nebular said...

Jaccsy, it's been considered as a horror classic. Can you imagine? ;) I enjoyed it subtlety and spookiness, but it left me wanting more.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Saw this one years ago. It's a bit dated now, but it's still very creepy and effective. Shows what can be done in an R-rated horror film without a bucket of blood and a mass-murderer.

Nebular said...

I couldn't agree more, Alex ;) Its atmospheric subtlety is its strength.

The Film Connoisseur said...

One of my favorite ghost movies ever! A slow burner, but one thats worth your while. Actually, I think this film influenced THe Ring quite a bit, since it has the whole ghost child in a well thing going for it. Love George C. Scott on this, and the house the chose to film the exteriors, positively creepy as hell.

Nebular said...

I liked it, but didn't love it. The only thing it has in common with "The Ring" is the well. As you know, "The Ring" is a remake of the Japanese "Ringu", and I think Asians are so imaginative and their mind is so creative, I rather doubt that they could be inspired by an old ghost story.
The house was one of the creepiest, that for sure! :)