The Turning (2020) Movie Review
Written by: ML
Edited by: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Floria Sigismondi
Producers: Scott Bernstein, Roy Lee, Seth William Meier
Writers: Carey W. Hayes, Chad Hayes
Date Released: January 24, 2020
Mackenzie Davis as Kate Mandell
Finn Wolfhard as Miles Fairchild
Brooklynn Prince as Flora Fairchild
Joely Richardson as Darla Mandell
Barbara Marten as Mrs. Grose
Niall Greig Fulton as Peter Quint
Denna Thomsen as Miss Jessel
Kim Adis as Rose
Rating = 2/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
The story is an adaptation of “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James. It is about Kate, a hired live-in tutor for a little girl named Flora who witnessed her parents die in an accident just outside the manor gates. She has a brother who stayed at the mansion after being expelled from his boarding school for hurting another student. Together with them is the long-time caretaker Mrs. Grose. During Kate’s stay in the mansion, she is being haunted by ghosts and apparitions. As she uncovers more details about what happened to Miss Jessel and Quint, Kate is haunted by the thoughts of delusion, just like her mother.
As a ghost movie, The Turning had some fair share of jump scares and apparitions. The most notable ones were around the beginning when Kate arrived at the mansion and she starts seeing the ghost of a woman. But the truly heart-stopping sequence was when they played the flashlight tag game where Kate got lost and someone grabbed her flashlight. The ghost hands creeping all over Kate’s body was also good. Aside from that, Mrs. Grose’s death scene came in as a shock.
The Grave Review
This is an adaptation of a popular ghost story by Henry James but the movie lost its momentum to deliver. It’s probably because of the long drag of apparition scenes and an abrupt ending. The movie was like a compilation of scenes where ghosts disturb a newcomer.
The camerawork was good, showcasing the mansion and its surroundings in all its creepy glory. In addition to this, the special effects for the ghosts were effective but lacked strength in establishing the scares. Their appearances were quick and audiences might miss out on them.
In terms of acting, the leads were able to showcase their talents. Finn Wolfhard was effective as an annoying and creepy kid, which is very far from his well-loved role in Stranger Things. Brooklynn Prince portrayed Flora as both adorable and weird. Mackenzie Davis was also promising, though she should’ve been given more time to explore her sanity to be able to distinguish seeing ghosts from going crazy.
Looking at the negatives, there were a lot of aspects in the movie that were not explained such as the existence of the ghosts and why they haunt Kate. Other confusing things include why Miles was acting that way, Flora’s strange behavior towards going out of the mansion, the connection of Kate’s mom in all this, and although Miss Jessel’s and Quint’s deaths were revealed, there was no further back story to support it.
The ending failed to give an actual closure as well. The credits started to roll with Kate’s hand running through paintings on the wall with no explanation at all. Nobody will ever know what happened to her, to the kids, and if she descended into madness or there really are ghosts in the mansion.
Also, since this was somehow similar to the TV series “The Haunting of Bly Manor” which was released in the same year, audiences can’t help but compare them.
Overall, this movie is just fine if you are looking for typical ghost stories and book adaptations.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives The Turning (2020) two graves out of five graves.
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