The Changeling (1980) - Horror

Hohum Score



A man staying at a secluded historical mansion finds himself being haunted by the presence of a spectre.

IMDB: 7.2
Director: Peter Medak
Stars: George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere
Length: 107 Minutes
PG Rating: R
Reviews: 31 out of 294 found boring (10.54%)

One-line Reviews (152)

Perhaps best of all in a near-flawless film is John Coquillon's stunning photography, which is delicate, unhurried, polished and amazingly unsettling, selling the movie's many great scares with shot-perfect precision (for other examples of his great skill as a cameraman, check out Sam Peckinpah's Cross Of Iron or The Osterman Weekend).

Sumptuously shot by John Coquillon, with an elegantly eerie orchestral score by Rich Wilkins and a rousing fiery conclusion, this film in its own deceptively quiet and low-key way proves to be a truly potent and hair-raising fright feature winner.

There are several scenes in the film that are enough to give one intense goosebumps.

Gripping from the start, "The Changeling" is both horrific and sad, with its ghost story evoking compassion and anger from its leading character.

Gifted Hungarian director Medak has created a suspenseful, mysterious and nerve-shreddingly frightening film in the subtle tradition of The Haunting and Curse Of The Demon.

There is no real violence in this film, but there is this certain thrilling atmosphere which chills up my spine (and the teardrops, you know..)! Again and again, from the very sad beginning until the dramatic ending.

The Changeling is one creepy,suspenseful and scary movie!

Extremely well-acted by Scott, playing nicely against type, and Melvyn Douglas, who invests his aging Senator with a real sense of tragedy (there's a wonderful scene where Douglas realizes the truth, and you can just see his facade crack, revealing a sort of anguished confusion underneath.

Good performances all around and an intriguing mystery make this worth a look!

Well, all in all "The Changelling" is rather tedious.

This is an interesting , suspenseful and horrifying story , based on a story by Russell Hunter and screenplay by William Gray and Maddox .

Film's tension and suspense is so great, it is unbearable.

The plot line is simple but its development, the twists and turns in the story, makes you sit on the edge of the seat all along (watch your nails, pal!

It's suspenseful, well acted, contains an intelligent plot, and uses no special effects or gore to obtain it's objective.

The story runs kinda fast, the atmosphere isn't creepy or scary, just a little suspenseful at times, and in the last 20 minutes we have a big jump that was really unexpected.

Peter Medak's "The Changeling" is a highly entertaining horror film that truly creeps and this is not an easy thing to do.

Some may not find this scary specially with all those usual stuff like doors banging, pipes making noises, piano playing by itself, window panes breaking, taps starting on its own, etc. but there was sufficient tension n gripping story to hold viewers attention.

An essential viewing for those who like haunted house movies; especially if you like slow build and genuine mystery as well.

The dialog of the screen play was trite, stiff and at times even lame.

The storyline fascinating and very engaging.

The powerfully emotive music, immersive atmosphere and magnificent lighting and cinematography are all excellent, and I can just get absorbed in the compelling mystery and rich dark ambiance and oppressive mood that the film was going for.

Very well executed and chilling, I would recommend this movie to virtually anyone and highly recommend it to any horror/thriller fan.

The horror of this scary film is actually psychological and shows no gore, but really frightens a lot with the suspenseful atmosphere tied in a great screenplay.

The creepy house story itself is quite familiar but the context of the haunting, involving an unspeakable murder of a crippled child for both financial and political gain is truly original and fascinating.

An intense, frightening ghost story .

What we have here is a seriously creepy haunted house slow burner.

Medak's unobtrusive direction is nice, too (what I found "boring" as a kid, I find "well-paced" as an adult).

Absolutely worth watching even if you think ghost stories are stupid.

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.

(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.

While the film is occasionally a slave to cliché, you always buy what's happening and the handling of the characters and story is expertly done.

By that I mean loud chords of music on the soundtrack or the unexpected cry of a cat or something like that.

When I first saw it years back, I got bored with it and thought it was highly overrated.

Scott gives a great performance, but I found that the film dragged quite a bit.

The story is also quite pointless, leaving anyone with a brain to wonder why the ghost is doing what he is doing, and what the general point of the film was to begin with.

However, he soon discovers that he's got unexpected company in his new home when the ghost of a long murdered child appears, shattering windows and abruptly opening and shutting doors.

George C Scott seems to struggle at first but then wandering around an empty house reacting to sounds off stage is not the easiest task.

* SPOILER ALERT* The plot became confusing and convoluted.

Spooky seventies slow burn .

Much more intense to say the least.

The revelation is simply too intense to even give hints about, so I will only go as far to say that it is something the viewer will not see coming.

The visual direction is very well orchestrated and Medak makes good use of composition, flow and lighting to start and maintain a very consistent and thrilling sense of dread from the first moments through the intense and edge-of-your-seat finale.

It's no secret that a great deal of the film is focused on Scott's Russell trying to solve the mystery of the spirit that is haunting his new home, and it is genuinely fascinating to watch it unfold.

In the genre of ghost/horror movies, there occasionally comes a truly wonderful picture that doesn't rely on gore, special effects, and shock to tell a truly gripping tale.

In an era of blood and gore horror films (which are just fine in their place; in fact some of them are my favorite movies), director Peter Medak and star George C Scott gave us the best, most intense low-key haunted house movie since Robert Wise's THE HAUNTING (1963).

Except for main character John the characters stayed rather bland including his female colleague played by Trish Van Devere.

He leases a huge mansion in Chessman Park that belongs to the Historical Society and has been empty for twelve years.

The Changeling is a good movie, but very predictable with over the top performances by virtually everyone, except the great George C.

I did not find the move particularly scary, but a fascinating and well made period piece ghost story from the late 70s.

So if you don't set your expectations too high, "The Changeling" is just moderately entertaining enough to satisfy.

This is a movie with excellent direction and camera work, coupled with a compelling and plausible plot, great acting (George C.

This movie is not only boring, but TOTALLY predictable.

The unknown and the unexpected are far more frightening things than what we can see.

The scene with the red and white rubber ball rolling down the staircase, which Russell then tosses off a bridge, bounces down the steps again to the haunting symphony soundtrack compelling, made me exclaim; "THE BOUNCY BALL THAT WOULD NOT DIE!!!

As to the plot it's also very intriguing and convincing, not like today's "screamy-bloody" Hollywood trash.

I found this to be a very chilling and haunting tale, that for the the most part was very intense.

Scott and a compelling (if not original) tale, just grab a bowl of popcorn and enjoy this long, dark, atmospheric (if somewhat boring) flick.

This movie is just simply a slow-moving and boring ghost story.

An old film, but definitely worth watching.

Setting it apart from conventional haunted house movies is that it has a most intriguing story to tell.

And perhaps most amazingly, it's a fast paced thriller that is scary right from the first 10 minutes on...

At first, the slow pacing of this film almost made me turn it off.

The plot is not quite esoteric or nuanced enough for my tastes, and it kind of drags a bit from the middle and out, transforming itself from a claustrophobic and intense exorcist like nightmare to more of a mystery thriller with loads of dialogue and daylight scenes.

This movie is suspenseful, quite sad at parts, and also EXTREMELY CREEPY...

Poltergeist was more intense and quite gory in one scene and got a "PG" rating.

Actually, the whole evolution of the horrifying house is breathtaking.

I found this movie pretty entertaining.

It boasts absolutely stunning atmosphere, great performances and an intriguing "Whodunnit?

Mature and Intriguing .

I watched this film a second time and enjoyed it much more than the first, knowing ahead of time that I had to savor the pacing.

In fact, except for the accident at the start of the movie, I was fairly bored for about the first forty minutes of the film.

Scott was obviously way past his prime and the plot is predictable beyond description.

Intelligent, suspenseful thriller.

I give "The Changeling" an excellent 9 out of 10 and highly recommend it to all fans of horror!

Dreary, sad and creepy, a thrilling horror film .

It has a slow, suspenseful pace and interesting characters.

It actually got very slow & boring after about 45 minutes.

The rest of the movie was so slow and boring, with crappy acting and plot that it took me 4 sittings to watch the whole movie.

" I wanted them to leave the house.

This one was a bore.

Very Slow and Boring.

Something happened in this house in 1909 and though others have attempted to live in the house, it has remained empty since 1967, until now.

The story soon gains depth on a brilliantly unexpected scale, so much so that in it's gripping finale, I felt truly horrified when certain things began to happen that, in other horror films, seem purely routine.

Not scary, but still gripping.

Scott's real life wife Trish Van Devere plays his character's counterpart, Claire Norman, in a character that easily could had become a cliché.

Effectively creepy and suspenseful, it is one of the best haunted house movies I have ever seen.

It's certainly creepy and intense - just don't expect another EXORCIST.

Not only is this a great haunted house film(complete with strange noises, dark stairways) but it's an intriguing mystery as well.

He's living in a big empty mansion trying to deal with it.

The house is a stunning piece of set design, labyrinthine and darkly-lit with mysterious hallways spiralling up to unknown realms, and there is fantastic use of sound-effects to convey its gloominess and tragedy, as well as a great piano score by Rick Wilkins.

The truths Scott finds along the way are quite stunning.

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.

Kind of a slow moving haunted house tale.

Good ghost stories should have a subtle sense of spookiness coupled with an intriguing and often puzzling mystery.

This movie builds and builds to heart-stopping scenes that are well worth the pay-off for its slow pacing.

The film is however terminally dull.

A simple, gripping, chilling story .

This film manages to be spooky without descending into camp, and suspenseful without overdoing it.

terrifying and thrilling .

There's one part when a woman is being chased around by an empty wheelchair!!!

Two moments that stand out are the séance scene which is eerie and the unexpected arrival of a child's toy ball.

Taut, unrelenting and extremely suspenseful ghost story movie about a old Victorian house haunted by the ghost of children.

However, despite the beautiful blend of both expected and unexpected thrills and chills, what makes this film stand out, in my mind, is the fact that, alike so few other horror films of its time, it does not lose sight of the human side of the plot.

This particular scene is really breathtaking, I assure you.

Even in 1980 this story was already one giant predictable cliché.

Fortunately the cinematography is beautiful, slow, wide and open.

It's hard to feel immersed in a story that confronts you with massive deja vu.

It is scary, suspenseful, and eerie.

The result is a satisfyingly intelligent horror film with an intriguing dash of Watergate-era paranoia.

This is an exceptional film, genuinely unsettling and thoroughly entertaining throughout.

This movie is a thrilling ghost story.

And while, as mentioned, some parts of the plot are predictable (not least of which if one has seen the slightly superior The Beyond by Fulci), the performances from Scott and especially Melvyn Douglas are terrific and many scenes are unforgettable as should-be horror bits like the séance or the wheelchair possessed chasing after the woman, or just the creepy ambiance given by the boy's spider-webbed bedroom.

The 4K rescan is pointless unless you want to want to experience what VHS video looked like.

Having survived this cliché, the Scott character heads straight for another one by moving into a -- natch!

Instead, The Changeling relies on sound, tension and slow burning thrills.

"The Changeling"- Solid, spooky and highly entertaining.

The plot is predictable and pretty dull stuff.

The slow panning through the halls makes us reflect on the loss this man has endured already in the film, as he begins to write a new chapter.

Very intense and definitely one to cuddle up under a blanket with.

Scott delivers an engaging performance as John Russell, a composer / musician who loses his wife (Jean Marsh) and daughter in a tragic roadside accident.

the first hour has to be the most intense of any film.

The movie makes an unexpected turn from horror drama, to murder mystery in the middle of it's second act and soon our hearts are beating as fast as the plot is thickening before we even know it.

The incorporation of a political conspiracy into the story only acts to make it more compelling.

If you want to have a really enjoyable time being scared, don't miss seeing The Changeling.

The thing is, after a while most of these movies have a similiar theme..either that or they are total turkeys, gore and no plot or Hollywood complex plot, not enough gore and no tension or suspense.


The climax of the movie will have you gripping your partner's arm!

The film is rich with atmosphere, rosewood, classical depth, and slow pans, always looking askance, and a soundtrack that is hauntingly beautiful.

His deeply intense style of acting is just what I have always liked about great actors like him.

The slow start increased the yawn factor and reduced the over-all rating factor.

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.

This elegant film traps you with its eerie ambiance and intense soundtrack, making it worthwhile to watch.

Boring ghost story .

It has the Gothic undertones, the creepy mansion, and an engaging ghostly mystery at the center of the plot.

A dull and formulaic ghost story that has been done much better elsewhere.

"That's way too long!

One day in a fit of boredom, I decided to recapture that singular image.

This is a riveting movie the kind you sit down to watch and it is so good every scene makes your mouth water for the next and SCARY.

This movie is definetely worth watching if you want to be truely creeped out.

Most enjoyable edge of the seat spooky .

For me this movie was very enjoyable.

I was on the edge of my seat just about the entire movie.

Also, at first the viewer is led to believe the ghost might be a little girl who dies tragically outside the house, but it turns out she lived there after the original occupants which included a boy who had a sister, which added to the confusion because I thought the girl who died, Cora, was his sister, because they said his sister died.

He starts to dig deeper and more intense.

Plot-holes aside, as well as the brackish cinematography, there are many good scenes here, particularly an intense séance (and its aftermath) and the digging up of human remains in a nearby house.

Scott and Trish Van Devere) or encounter any sort of lasting chills in its drawn-out pacing.

Hungarian-born director Medak - who began his career with a number of critically acclaimed black comedies like NEGATIVES (1968) and THE RULING CLASS (1972) - later distinguished himself with the intense true-crime dramas THE KRAYS (1990) and LET HIM HAVE IT (1991), before getting lost on the Hollywood treadmill.

Anyway, this is a thinky, absorbing movie with great acting throughout.

Dull ghost story.

I was afraid of empty wheel-chairs for a few months after - afraid that it may be haunted with a ghost like the film.

Other films have dealt with this sort of material before, including the well-known THE HAUNTING (which I, personally, found disappointing and pretentious in its efforts to chill).

It is suspenseful, I'll give them that.