Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Changeling (1980)

Nothing starts off a movie better than tragedy.  After his wife and daughter get annihilated by a car collision(while he watches from a phone booth), Jon Russell relocates to Seattle, Washington to teach music at his alma mater.  He is offered a large historical house to stay in by a friend(that conveniently belongs to a local preservation society).  

Spirits just won't leave Mr. Russell alone and not unlike the Amityville Horror, this is based on an alleged true story.  With the help of a medium, in an amazingly creepy seance, he is able to unlock the riddle of the haunting.  Seventy years earlier, a politically powerful man had drowned his crippled son to swap him with a healthier young heir (taken from an orphanage).

This film features some great wide-angle shots of the bewitching abode.  George C. Scott(Patton, Firestarter) is marvelous as an unexpected supernatural sleuth.  The soundtrack is eerily enjoyable and the resolution is fulfilling.  

This is a great Peter Medak film (up there with Romeo is Bleeding[1993]) and one of the finest haunted house movies ever.  Definitely better than his atrocious Masters of Horror "Washingtonians"(2007) and Species II(1998). 

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