The Turning is a modern day adaptation of the famous ghost story The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James. It’s the story of a young teacher Kate played by Mackenzie Davis, that is employed at a stately home to tutor the young orphaned girl that lives there. As the past that haunts the home slowly reveals itself, the house and the past events that set them into motion, start to drive Kate to the brink of insanity.
This film, from Dreamworks, has Steven Spielberg as an an executive producer, so it would be safe to assume that things were in safe hands. So it’s a mystery to me why it all falls apart in the third act. The set up is fine, and so it should be, Turn Of The Screw has a classic template to work from, and as far as things go, despite a strange decision to set this movie in the 90’s, the first act has some nice moments that creates the mystery and should lead the audience into a creepy unsettling final act that pays off all the set up.
But it doesn’t – despite all the work that seems to have been put into the first act, things eventually descend into a series of scary set pieces that resemble every other film of this genre that you have seen. Perhaps there was some studio interference or changes in scripts, but the ending of this film becomes so ludicrous that everything you have sat through prior is lost in the shambles that is the third act.
The ending of this movie has probably got to rank as one of the worst ever committed to film. It simply is so unsubstantial that you feel you have literally wasted your time sitting through it. I have no idea what we were meant to take from the ending. It is so ambiguous that it cannot even pretend that it is clever or thought provoking, it’s just silly and inconsequential and as a result insults the audience and cheats them in the worst possible way. This type of pretension in film making is the very thing that will drive people away from cinemas and back to Netflix. In the theatre we watched this film in, the price of a ticket was over £10.
This review will encourage nobody to watch the film, and at the end of the day that hurts the cinema, the film company and most importantly the loyal film goer who planks their money down week after week and for what? Sub standard story telling and an unsatisfying experience that will do nothing except harm the industry.