[Review] Canadian Horror At Its Best: The Changeling Turns 40

Director: Peter Madek | Writers: Russel Hunter, William Grey, and Diana Maddox | Released: 28 March 1980 | Run Time: 1h 46min

Forty years ago today, The Changeling was released onto an unsuspecting world. It would go on to become one of the most compelling supernatural thrillers of all time. Haunted House stories terrify people because a home is the one place you feel most secure. This often overlooked Canadian horror film delivers the frights. And it should be in everyone’s personal collection.

After watching his wife and son die in a horrible accident, John Russell (George C. Scott), uproots and moves across the country, where Claire Norman (Trish Van Devere), helps him move into an old mansion where he tries to move on with his life. But the enormous house has other plans for him. The presence gets his attention by shattering windows, doors open and close on their own, and John is led to a boarded up attic room where he finds a kid’s wheelchair amongst all the dust and cobwebs. John immediately realizes something bad happened in the house, so he starts searching for answers. He digs into the history of the mansion and its previous occupants.

John’s research leads him down an unthinkable path. The Changeling is a perfectly paced slow burner. You can sensed the dread easing in with each passing scene. Not only was the plot great, the atmosphere set the tone, allowing the unease to settle on your skin. I love the soundtrack, it really does enhance the tension.

Even though the film is forty years old, The Changeling aged well. It still holds its own to this day. If you don’t have this one in your personal collection, then you should change that immediately.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Perhaps the most chilling supernatural thriller of all time. One of the scariest movies ever made. Scott delivers one of the best performances ever. As a Manhattan composer consumed by grief after his wife and daughter are killed in a shocking accident. When he moves to a secluded Victorian mansion he will find himself haunted by a paranormal entity that may unleash an even more disturbing secret.

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