Short Attention Span Review - The Changeling (1980)
Everyone loves a good old-fashioned haunted house story, right? Throw in a vengeful ghost and George C. Scott, and you have the makings of a classic. The Changeling is highly regarded for a reason, and like The Haunting (which veteran director Peter Medak studied at close range long before crafting this 1980 chiller), it still works. A spooky yarn is a spooky yarn, and the absence of CGI or other modern effects doesn't hinder this ghastly cult classic in the slightest. I would argue that all of the gags in The Changeling work to perfection, though like the best films of this ilk, it relies more on what we hear and suspect than what we actually see. A good script, a powerful score, top-notch cinematography, and several impeccable sets elevate this into the upper statosphere of fright flicks. Scott dominates the proceedings--he's in damn near every scene, and he brings his trademark fire and gusto to the party. He also handles the quiet moments surprisingly well, and this is essential; The Changeling is both thoughtful and clever in its construction. The climax is certainly volatile, and I just can't lodge any complaints against this stirring essay in grief and terror. At the end of the day, movies like this live or die based on whether or not they can send enough chills racing down your spine. The Changeling is a damn good movie, and it is scary.
Note: Shudder subscribers should absolutely stream this one with Joe Bob. Great stuff. And if you dig horror and you haven't signed up for Shudder yet, you are missing out. Shudder is the best streaming service out there.
Final Grade: A
|Creepy and mesmerizing, The Changeling is a Grade A spookshow.|