THE CHANGELING (1980) 7/10
Woooha! Having seen this many years ago on TV, having read Arrow's terrific review I rented this one last night, suprised to find it in the news section of my rental ( I'll get to that in the end ). Haunted-House movies aren't normally my cup of tea. I don't like Poltergeist at all and I thought that the Haunting remake sucks major ass, just like everybody who saw the original ( which is a definite 9/10 ) thought. But after all, no doubt that this is a great movie that could be enjoyed by horror and non-horror fans alike (which is why I didn't post in the past-horror-section).
The setup is your typical haunted-house-with-new-owner thing, having piano virtouso George S. Scott moving in this big-ass house after his family died in a car accident. Soon enough, he keeps hearing weird noises and it's obvious that something wants to contact him. He digs deeper and what he finds is sure to send some goosebumbs up your spine.
Acting wise, there is nothing to criticise here. This is movie moves slow. Really slow. But the payoff is worth it, even if it's a bit underwhelming, considering the buildup. In comparison, this movie surely doesn't make the mistake that "Burnt Offerings"(another "classic" Haunted House movie) made: Moving Slow and there is nothing to it.
I think that Atmosphere is what this movie depends on. One look at that house and I knew that I wouldn't want to stay five minutes in there, let alone live there. Like arrow said, the house is a prominent character in this movie, and a very threatening one. It has evil charisma. Geoge S. Scott is great as the lead and Melvyn Douglas is a perfect opponent, although I think they should have given him more screen time.
Somehow, there are a few things in the plot that are questionable though:
-Why does the Ghost start to act hostile for no reason in the End, let alone on the only two people who tried to help him?
-The finale is quite weak. Having the Senator hypnotized in his office so he can pay for his fathers crimes? Just doesn't sound good to me, but maybe it looks good to you.
-In the Beginning, the Ghost activity is only in the house. How did that Ghost get to fish a ball out of a river far away from that house?
-If I was this ghost, I'd be haunting the Place where my murdered Body rests day and night. He does, but only two times in this movie. Seems that, if he'd be haunting THIS place ( we see that he could ) his chances for deliverence would be maximized.
Also, the Soundtrack sometimes seems a little overbearing. The piece that is played by the discovery of the room with the wheelchair is a good example. How about more subtility? I think that would have worked better. The scene were the Wheelchair is chasing Claire around looks pretty silly if you ask me.
Still, it's hard to criticize a movie THIS good. Lots of class here, something that is missing in a lot of recent horror movies ( as well as other movies ). As I said, Haunted House movies aren't exactly my cub of tea and I was disappointed almost by everyone I've seen yet (Poltergeist 4/10, Haunting of Hell House 5/10, Burnt Offerings 3/10 ).
Once this movie has got to you, it won't let you go until the end. The best setting for this one is past midnight, all alone in a room where your TV is the only light. 7/10
Ah, and for that New-Section Thing. The copy I rented was published by "NIGHTMARE CINEMA". If anybody from Germany here reads this: STAY THE HELL AWAY! This tape has the worst transfer I've ever seen. Countless mistakes in the sound as well, the most grotesque being that every single word is repeated for about 14 minutes in this version. (Note: This is certainly NOT intended by the movie). I'm thinking about wanting my money back...
[This message has been edited by Dehydrator (edited 10-05-2001).]