THE CHANGELING (1980)
I had been meaning to see this film for quite some time, and when I needed another 31 Days replacement, a friend brought it up and I thought I might as well finally watch this. This film turned out to be one of the genuinely creepy films that I have ever seen. I don’t scare or frighten easily and this one pushed me to my limits. I loved the film, and I am glad I finally had the chance to see it.
George C. Scott plays John Russell, a man whose life gets ruined when his wife and daughter die in an accident. Aiming to heal from the tragedy he buys a secluded mansion, just right for him to write music. It doesn’t take him long to realise something isn’t right, and he isn’t alone. He decides to investigate with the use of a medium and his friends, will he uncover what haunts the house and how to bring it to an end? You’ll need to watch to find out.
I remained purposely vague, I knew next to nothing in terms of plot and this worked so effectively. I love a good ghost story, and I love a good mystery, this gave me both of those things. George C. Scott is one of the greatest actors we’ve had, he delivers here and this is certainly one of the stronger performances I have seen from him. He knew exactly how to sell a haunting, and many actors could learn a thing or two from what he accomplished here. I was just really impressed with the mood and atmosphere created, the house is itself creepy and you add in the strange events, it just works. The scares were amazing; I can’t commend those involved with this film enough for making it work so well.
The story is quite tragic, from beginning to end with John’s story to the one that haunts the house. It was incredibly effective and a real gut punch; it draws the audience in from the opening frames and doesn’t let go till the very end. The film had many different elements, and they all mixed together nicely. The man dealing with a tragedy, and discovering one himself was a perfect blend. This film could have easily failed but this really delivered on everything.
I was so impressed with the performances, as I said George C. Scott owned this. But those around him were just as good, and they sold every aspect. Scenes that should be silly, were not at all, you I began to believe what I was seeing. You might remember the séance scene from Insidious, the one here trumps that and it is clear this was one of the influences. Peter Medak got great performances from his actors and really crafted such an amazing film. Kudos to John Coquillon for the amazing cinematography, it was brilliant. If you haven’t seen this, track it down and enjoy!