Will The Changeling Remake Traumatise Me as Much as the Original?

Get ready to be slowly terrified by a creepy ghost child saying “My medal” — at least that’s what happened to me the last time I watched the 1980 horror film The Changeling. Like so many others, it’s now getting a remake, with Hanna director Anders Engström coming on board to lead the project.

As reported by Deadline, Engström has joined a long-attempted remake of The Changeling. Tab Murphy (The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Batman: Year One) wrote the script, which reportedly includes “several new twists and turns,” with original Changeling producer Joel B. Michaels returning as a producer on the film. In a statement, Michaels said he’s thrilled to see the classic ghost story getting a fresh take.

“I am overjoyed at having the unique opportunity to reimagine an updated version of the iconic film The Changeling that I produced so many years ago. It’s flattering to know that it proved to have inspired a rash of filmmakers that paid homage to the original film. I am excited to be working with Anders Engström who will bring his own contemporary vision to the film,” he said.

The Changeling is a Canadian supernatural thriller starring George C. Scott as a musician named John who, after losing his family in a car accident, moves across the country to a remote Victorian mansion that’s sat empty for over a decade. It turns out the home is haunted by the ghost of a young boy, and John spends most of the film trying to find out what happened to him and expose the truth to the world. It’s not the most widely-remembered horror movie in history — but, as someone whose dad loved this movie, I am very familiar with The Changeling. And it fucked me up every time.

The film got mixed reviews upon its initial release but has since received praise for its slow, deliberate pacing and purposeful scares. Much like the original The Haunting (not the remake where Owen Wilson got decapitated by a fireplace), The Changeling took its time with its haunts instead of relying on cheap jump scares. There are some things that will need to be updated, like the antiquated way it portrayed and discussed childhood terminal illness. But if there’s any horror film that’s overdue for a fresh take, it’s definitely The Changeling.

Cornerstone Films is currently shopping the film at the Cannes virtual market, and the plan is to shoot the movie in Ireland.