Peter Medak’s THE CHANGELING is among a handful of films, including THE HAUNTING (1963), GHOST STORY (1981), and LADY IN WHITE (1988), that have successfully recreated the intimate, drawing-room atmosphere of supernatural horror fiction.
After his wife and daughter are killed in a car accident, classical composer John Russell (George C. Scott) relocates from New York to Seattle to teach at his alma mater. Looking for a quiet place to rest and continue writing music, he is referred to Claire Norman (Trish Van Devere) at the Seattle Historical Preservation Society, who shows John a large, sparsely furnished estate in the outlying countryside. He takes the house, appreciating its remoteness and the solitude it might afford, and diverts himself by renovating and settling in. It’s not long before he begins having nightmares about the accident that killed his wife and daughter. Possibly because of this trauma, he is open to communications from the house’s ghostly occupants …
Horror writer M.R. James once said that his goal as a writer was to make the reader feel “pleasantly uncomfortable.” Those looking for a similar experience in movies will appreciate THE CHANGELING as a gem in the horror genre.
“A superior haunted house thriller.” — Variety