The Turning (2020) Movie Review

Director: Floria Sigismondi

Writer: Carey W Hayes, Chad Hayes (Screenplay) Henry James (Novel)

Starring: Mackenzie Davis, Finn Wolfhard, Brooklynn Prince, Barbara Marten, Joely Richardson, Niall Greig Fulton, Denna Thomsen

Plot: A young governess is hired by a man who has become responsible for his young nephew and niece after their parents’ deaths. A modern take on Henry James’ novella “The Turn of the Screw.”


Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Basic Horror

Story: The Turning starts when tutor Kate Mandell (Davis) gets a job away from the classroom, to teach Flora (Prince) an orphaned little girl who has been living with her housekeeper Mrs Grose (Marten) in the mansion. While Kate it happy with this new opportunity, this job doesn’t seem as easy once Flora’s older brother Miles (Wolfhard) is expelled from boarding school.

After Kate starts experiencing strange events, nightmares and visions around the house, she starts trying to learn more about the past of the house and with Miles not making her time here easy, she must figure out the truth before it is too late.

Thoughts on The Turning

Characters – Kate is a teacher who is given a chance for this tutor role, a role which would mean only dealing with one kid instead of a classroom, she sees her own life in helping, with her father walking out on her and her mother dealing with her own mental health problems and tries to approach this role as something fresh. She does connect with Flora, but become friends with Miles proves to be more difficult and with her not sleeping she is torn between trying to help him or just leaving. Miles has been expelled from boarding school for assaulting another student, he has become friends with one of the housekeepers who died too, he doesn’t want to become friends with Kate and is happy to play games against her. Flora is the youngest member of the family, she witnessed her parent’s death, which has struck fear into leaving the home, she is just like any child of that age who wants to have fun, only she doesn’t have any friends in her life. Mrs Grose is the housekeeper and has been for generations with planning the daily meals and keeping the place clean.

PerformancesMackenzie Davis in the leading role does well dealing with the horror effects in the film, while the two young stars, Finn Wolfhard and Brooklyn Prince don’t put a foot wrong in their roles.

StoryThe story here follows a tutor that gets a new job in a mansion and while here she learns the house might well be haunted and wants to get to the bottom of this before it is too late. The story is one of the biggest talking points in this film, while it does start off routine, it ends up trying to become smarter than it needs to, only contradicting itself by the end. It is a shame because the basic haunting ideas all work very well, in fact I thought I was watching any of ‘The Haunting’, ‘Awakening’ and films along that line, which slowly builds, has a ghost investigation side to it, only for it is have a spanner in the final works which will leave you scratching your head, but is far from the ‘Non-ending’ people have spoken about.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film comes from the haunted house, every scene does give us a proper jump scare, rather than just a false one, though you would be left wondering why she didn’t just leave straight away. The mystery is what did happen, which is more disappointing than anything else, because we only learn things that we get told, rather than Kate learning about anything herself.

SettingsThe mansion setting is beautiful, it shows how you would have creepy noises around, the long dark corridors and massive gardens, which for some reason sees the time of day change when running through it.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are an interesting choice, with the ghostly figures fading in and out so eerily it does add something to the film.


Scene of the Movie – The first reaction.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We get some interesting camera angles, which seem to be here for no apparent reason.

Final Thoughts This is a horror that does the basic horror moments well, even if certain moments might come off overly complicated with how it ends.

Overall: Simple Horror, Complicated Ending.

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