Tuesday, October 8, 2013

"The Changeling" (1980)

Over and over again I have seen film critics place “The Changeling” at or near the top of their “scariest films of all time” lists. With all the full-length films appearing on Youtube these days, I finally got the chance to check this classic of eighties horror out. So, is it as scary as people claim?

In a word: no. Most of that may have something to do with Scott’s performance. He does a great job—as always—but his character is never afraid. It is hard for a viewer to feel fear when the protagonist in our story doesn’t. What this film is, however, is atmospherically creepy. The huge house, the music, the situations all add up to an uneasiness that is palpable. What this movie achieves where so many these days fail is accomplished through sound not visuals. Things imagined and unseen are SO much scarier than things created by computer animation.

This movie comes close to being simply a rollercoaster of a horror film. It exists for the scares and the emotions it evokes. What saves it is the mystery behind the scares. Ultimately we care enough about the questions to follow the characters through the chilling situations they go through. That is until we come to the climax and everything falls apart.


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