‘The Turning’ Film Review: Atomospheric Horror Goodness

For weeks the trailer for The Turning has genuinely creeped me out. I have not enjoyed the fact that these trailers have aired late night due to strange dream-inducing moments. Despite this, I knew seeing this film in theaters was a must. While I left the theater intrigued by what I just saw, most people around me left angry. The Turning will leave you wanting more because it leaves you wanting answers. With a lack of answers provided, the core audience it wanted to hit is left sore. However, if you are into atmospheric horror and gothic horror, you are in for a treat with The Turning. You might even leave the theater feeling genuinely creeped out and wondering what goes bump in your night.

The Turning draws from its source material The Turn of the Screw for its fourth adaptation. The film, set in the 1990s, focuses on a young governess Kate Mandell (Mackenzie Davis) is hired to primarily tutor Flora Fairchild (Brooklyn Prince) in the Maine countryside estate. Soon she realizes that she will be taking over duties for Miles Fairchild (Finn Wolfhard) as well as he returns to the estate. The longer she stays there with the two disturbed orphans, the more she discovers about the house. A house that is anything but ordinary as it contains secrets lurking around every corner. She quickly realizes these secrets are not what they may appear to be and must keep the children safe at all costs.

As audiences walk down the hallways in The Turning, we become as anxious as Kate. From the first jump scare, which I honestly was not expecting, we are on edge. While we fall in love with Flora as quickly a Kate does, we wonder what is wrong with Miles. Are supernatural elements at play in this home? Is Miles a troubled youth that needs more guidance? We feel Kate’s pain immediately and her urge to leave the residence. There is an understanding of why she wants to protect the kids as Mrs. Grose’s (Barbara Marten) intentions do not seem the best for the children despite her insistence. Davis does an incredible job of helping maintain the intrigue of the story. Audiences want to know the truth behind Kate as well as the home.

While there are authentic twists and turns in the film’s plot, most are going to leave the theater feeling cheated of an ending. Yet the film does have an end. Although it might not be an ending most people enjoy, the film still ends. The plot twist is not a troupe that people tend to take well. One can always debate the conclusion among the friends they choose to see the film with ultimately. Regardless, the film leaves us yearning for a bit more because, despite having an ending, the film seems unfinished. An additional scene or two would have leveled up this particular film in ways that could have garnered it better reviews.

Ultimately, The Turning gives its audience a treat in atmospheric horror at its best. In many instances, the film echoed moments of 2015’s Crimson Peak indirectly, but without the in-depth story that fans will yearn for to give them answers. Although The Turning is far more ambiguous in the long run than ambitious, this horror film is one that will satisfy the viewer’s hunger for horror this winter season.   

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