The film definitely falls into the same category as "The Others"; both are haunted house spook stories that focus on a huge reveal that is the turning point of the story. In "The Changeling," composer John Russell takes his family on a vacation to a snow-laden woods, where they're killed in a freak accident. In order to recover from the loss of his wife and child, Russell rents out a huge Victorian manor in Seattle. He tries to focus on lectures and composing new pieces, but a strange banging at 6 a.m. every morning along with the sense of a strange presence in the house leaves him feeling that he is not alone.
Slowly he pieces together the desires behind the strange entity that lives in the house, finding secrets buried in all the nooks and crannies. Despite being over thirty years old, this film definitely still holds up. A lot of eighties horror films edge on either campiness or cheesiness, but the actors here were great.
George C. Scott was outstanding as the main character, giving us a grieving husband and father who's pitted against this supernatural problem. His character came off very real -- these were real people presented with a problem that truly seemed like it could happen in the every day. It's Amityville style, where the ghosts are playing with your head and your perceptions instead of being full-bodied apparitions for no discernible reason.
The special effects are few and far between, but they're used to their fullest potential. Loud banging at precisely 6 a.m. that has no apparent source, moving furniture, EVP voices all show trace amounts of the supernatural that could exist in the real world. It's slowly coming back into vogue with things like Paranormal Activity and Blair Witch, and it's definitely something I would like to see more of.
In the end, I was definitely satisfied with the recommendation. It just seems that it's really difficult to go wrong with a haunted house movie -- taking our homes and turning them against us, making the one thing that is supposed to be our refuge and safe place work against us is possibly the most terrifying idea ever. Home is an integral part of the self, so making it a person in itself with wants and desires creates an other in us that is uncontrollable and confronts some of our deepest desires. This film is very much a must-see.