The Changeling 1980 ****

Still beavering away in TV-land, Peter Medak’s films as director as a mixed bunch, from his brilliant collaboration with Peter O’Toole on The Ruling Class to Species II. As a director, he seemed willing to try his hand to anything, and his foray into horror with 1980’s The Changeling resulted in something of a genre classic. George C Scott lends his considerable gravity to the role of John Russell, who moves into a cavernous haunted house after the death of his wife and daughter in an accident. John is in a somewhat sensitive condition, and the supernatural forces in the house take full advantage. Martin Scorcese, who was probably in quite a sensitive state himself in 1980 by his own admission, is a big admirer of this film, and for good reason; Medak’s POV shots and atmospheric direction conjure up a superior ghost story, with good work from Scott and his wife Trish Van Devere. It’s got many of the same elements of The Shining, and even if the story is more traditional, it’s in the same ball-park for scares.


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