- Movie Rating -

The Changeling (1980)

| March 28, 1980

Honestly, I have no real reason to like The Changing.  It’s cliched beyond words, and provides a story that encompasses element from every haunted house movie in the book.  And yet, I was sort of mesmerized.  For an hour and forty minutes, I was sort of wrapped up in this story.  Actually, the movie is an hour and forty-seven minutes, but I found the last seven minutes to be beyond stupid.  Moving on.

Maybe my affection for the movie came from the fact that the lead is played by George C. Scott.  What?  George C. Scott?  What’s he doing in this movie?  Maybe paying a few overdue bills?  Who knows?  Anyway, he plays John Russell, a noted New York composer who loses his wife and daughter when a truck spins out of control on some ice and sideswipes their car.  Reeling from their deaths, he moves out west, hoping for a fresh start.  He settles into a teaching job and rents an old mansion.

The house is that kind of dark, creaky old place that makes ghostly moaning and banging sounds even when it isn’t haunted.  Spaced away in the confines of this old house, John starts thinking he’s hearing things or perhaps seeing visions.  Maybe he’s going insane, who can say?  Maybe the house is haunted by whoever retrieved his daughter’s rubber ball that he dropped in the river.  When he returns home, it comes bouncing down the stairs!!

The story is patently ridiculous, as it tries to make some grounded sense with the idea that wandering souls could haunt the living, looking for some closure so that they could move on.  This could have been dealt with by the use of some subtlety.  But Hungarian director Peter Medak isn’t that skilled as a director.  He knows how to build a good story, but it doesn’t seem to know how to conclude it.  The Changing is, in parts a gripping story, that needed a little more binding.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1980) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized