31 Favorites #29: The Changeling
The Changeling is an old fashioned, slow burn, ghost story. Big old mansion with dark history. Check. New tenant. Check.
George C. Scott plays John Russell, a classical music composer and professor whose wife and daughter die in a horrible car accident in upstate New York. Determined to have a fresh start, he moves to the Pacific Northwest to accept a teaching position at the local university. With the assistance of others, he find a house to rent. A big old, spooky mansion that doesn't AT ALL look like it might have some issues (...meaning that if you were to look up "haunted house" in the dictionary, I wouldn't be surprised if this monstrosity showed up as the picture example). Weird things begin happen around the mansion, and as John investigates further he finds out that a young, sickly boy named Joseph was murdered in the home.
This, of course, is a storyline that's been done to death. But The Changeling is so nuanced and subtle that it got under my skin in a way that other haunted house films haven't.
Three Things I Love About It:
- You've probably guessed from the other films on my list, but I just LOVE a good slow burn horror film and The Changeling does this right.
- Watching the film feels a bit like reading a Gothic horror story. It has a small, intimate feeling about it that adds to the feeling of dread and tension.
- There are some moments of strange beauty the film, such as the scene toward the end where the Senator is walking up the staircase of fire (pictured above). It's gorgeously filmed, and absolutely chilling.