Picks and Pans Review: The Changeling

UPDATED 04/21/1980 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 04/21/1980 at 01:00 AM EST

An old-fashioned haunted house story, pure but not so simple, this movie might tingle a few spines. Having just lost his wife and daughter in a tragic accident, a well-known composer (George C. Scott) rents an enormous Victorian mansion outside Seattle. It's hard to see why a grieving widower would want to live in such a huge establishment but, anyway, Scott begins to hear strange noises, water faucets turn on by themselves, windows shatter for no reason. The usual stuff, yes, but in this case it is quite scary and there is a dandy unsolved murder at the bottom of it. Scott is very effective as a man obsessed with his house possessed, although he is forever walking down dark corridors and peeking behind closed doors long after normal people would have hit the road. Director Peter (The Ruling Class) Medak lets the plot unravel a little only at the film's climax; up to then he keeps the fine edge of suspense. Melvyn Douglas shows up as an ex-senator, too, and what with a similar role in The Seduction of Joe Tynan, he looks more at home in Washington than a 10-term congressman. (R)

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