The Changeling would have seemed antiquated and anachronistic at the time of its release. But the intervening years and current trend in horror for mindless torture and sadism have conspired to make this film seem a lot more intelligent than it actually is. The value of restraint, minimalism, and subtlety, has reached a premium in the horror genre, and although we may look back on The Changeling as an example of how to achieve this difficult blend, one must caution against a temptation to dilute the horror to such a degree that it becomes irrelevant. Nevertheless Peter Medak’s film is vastly superior to one of its immediate contemporaries of the haunted house sub-genre The Amityville Horror (1978 - a film I particularly dislike). But vastly inferior to another - The Shining (1980). In the former director Stuart Rosenberg failed to curb the hysteria and excessiveness, in the latter Stanley Kubrick achieved a finely balanced bland of subtle scares and exaggerated horror. The Changeling falls somewhere in between the two - neither hysterical or over the top, but also lacking the punch, drive, and energy one requires of a horror film.