Two generations of men find themselves haunted by the presence of a spectral woman. When the son of one of the elderly men returns to his hometown after his brother's mysterious death, they attempt to unravel her story.
It was the perfect family vacation for composer John Russell and his family when a freak automobile accident claims the lives of his wife and daughter. Consumed by grief, John, at the request of friends, rents an old turn of the century house. Mammoth in size, the house seems all the room that John needs to write music and reflect. He does not realize that he is not alone in the house. He shares it with the spirit of a murdered child who has homed in on John's despair and uses him to uncover decades of silence and deceit. With the help of Claire Norman, the one who aided John in procuring the house, they race to find the answers and soon learn that a devious and very powerful man guards them. Written by
Spanish filmmaker Alejandro Amenábar has claimed in several interviews that this is one of his all-time favorite Horror movies, up to the point of inspiring several scenes of Tesis (1996) and The Others (2001). See more »
(at around 11 mins) When John is playing the piano towards the beginning, the above the door next to the fireplace has light behind it. But, when John is called away from the piano, the transom above the door is dark. See more »
I understand you lost your wife and daughter a little while ago. Maybe it shook you up. Maybe too much... *Maybe*, you need help.
I'd like you to leave now...
[making his threat a bit more clear]
We can see that you get it... do you understand what I'm saying?
[points to the door]
Listen to me, Russell! You've got something of the Senator's... he wants it back. It's a little gold medal, a family heirloom, he lost it. He thinks *you've* got it.
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I first saw 'The Changeling' in the mid-eighties and it has lost none of its edge. A few of the reviews I see below seem to be written by those who have read glowing reviews but just didn't get it: Comparisons with 'The Exorcist', a story of demonic possession, are inappropriate. This movie isn't a visual shock feast nor a gore fest, this is a powerful psychological drama. The penultimate ghost story. If you just sit back in a defensive posture and challenge the movie to scare you, you will lose out completely. If however you choose to get involved, you will find yourself going for one hell of a ride. Few scenes in moviedom rival the poignancy, for instance, of the disbelieving George C. Scott character when he is reviewing the tape of the seance and comes upon the inescapable evidence that there IS a paranormal presence in the house. Here I will make my own inappropriate comparison: In the context of this story, Scotts ultimately human and believable response and the collapse that follows is far scarier than Exorcist's Reagan spewing green puke, by a long shot.
And the little girl going alone, summoned into the haunted room in her house at night? Forget about it. My hair stands on end.
If 'The Changeling', watched at night doesn't give you a fright, then there are at least six 'Hallowe'en' movies on the rack that should suit your particular needs. The Changeling is something else: the fear of the spiritually macabre.
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