[Review] The Turning (2020)
The Turning – For over 100 years, a deeply haunting tale has been passed down to terrify audiences all around. The Turning takes us to a mysterious estate in the Maine countryside, where a newly appointed young governess charged with the care of two disturbed orphans by a man who has recently become responsible for his young nephew and niece after the deaths of their parents. The Turning is a modern-day take on Henry James’ novella The Turn of the Screw.
I had already read the book long ago and loved it. However, I was not expecting the same for the movie. The book itself is unclear in many ways, and its literary style I’m certain was not easy to translate into a film. I totally expected the movie to be elements of the book, that were reworked into an ordinary horror film. Imagine my surprise to discover that they actually made the movie to offer the two possible interpretations that the book had. I loved that because I feel it’s what made the book so special.
That being said, I would fully understand if most viewers end up feeling unsatisfied or put off by this film because it challenges the typical formula of today’s horror films. There is, as in the novel, virtually no closure to the ending, but there was a plot-twist added instead, which I enjoyed. I know many folks will not enjoy this movie as it takes a more unique approach, but you have to admit, that does not necessarily make it a bad film.
The Turning begins with Miss Jessel, the last live-in governess at the Fairchild Estate, running from a house in what appears to be a panic. Once she reaches the front gate, she gets out of her car to open it and is attacked by a crazy-looking man. We next see Kate Mandell, who is leaving her job as a teacher to become the new governess for the children. Before Kate leaves for the estate, she goes to visit her mother, who resides in a mental institution because she suffers from dementia.
Once she arrives at the Fairchild Estate, she is told by Mrs. Grose, the long-standing caretaker, that young Flora had witnessed her parents die in a car accident outside the house’s front gate and is now a “special case.” Kate and Flora go on a tour of the grounds when the young girl confesses that she is afraid Kate will leave her without saying goodbye, just like her Miss Jessel did. Kate makes a promise that she will not do that.
The next day Kate meets Flora’s brother Miles, who is suddenly back from boarding school and continuously avoids talking about why he has returned, but Kate had received a call from the school’s principal and informed her that Miles was expelled after being found strangling another boy. She becomes angry and lashes out at Miles, but later apologizes to him. Miles then offers to teach her how to ride a horse to make it up to her, telling her their former riding instructor, Quint had also recently died.
Soon strange occurrences begin to happen at night and begin keeping her lights on when she goes to sleep, but Miles tells her that won’t keep her safe. Kate is then attacked by the ghost of Miss Jessel and later finds her journal which holds some very frightening tales about how Quint was obsessed with her. Mrs. Grose admits that Quint died a couple of weeks following Miss Jessel’s departure when he fell from his horse while riding drunk. Frightened by this and the entries she discovered in the journal, she becomes increasingly paranoid and now feels that she must find a way to remove herself and the children from the dreadful estate before it’s too late.
The ending was quite abrupt with many unanswered questions but I suppose they left it up to one’s own interpretation. Sort of like the novel, but not fully. The ending does not end as the book did which was kind of sad, but I guess it is what it is. The overall scenery throughout the entire film was absolutely wonderful and all of the actors were great in the roles they played. The foreboding atmosphere was brilliant done, completely creepy, dark and dreadful in every way.
For the most part, I loved this film, and the ending was sort of a cliffhanger which to me left it open for a sequel, which I would truly love! Stranger things have happened. I can highly recommend this film, but I cannot promise you will be one of the lucky ones that actually get it. I do think everyone should read the novel before they see this, and especially before commenting on it!
Title: The Turning
Release Date: January 24, 2020
Runtime: 1 hour, 34 minutes
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Drama
Studio: DreamWorks Pictures
Starring: Mackenzie Davis, Finn Wolfhard, Brooklynn Prince
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Director(s): Floria Sigismondi
Reviewed by: Grim Magazine
Our Rating: 3.0 /5
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