Directed by Floria Sigismondi
Starring: Mackenzie Davis, Finn Wolfhard, Brooklyn Prince, Barbara Marten
Runtime: 99 minutes
Rating: PG-13 (for terror, violence, disturbing images, brief strong language and some suggestive content.)
We get back into the horror genre this week with a telling of the 1898 gothic ghost story “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James. Going in I had not read this novel and had only watched a few trailers. I knew the cast had Finn Wolfhard who readers will know from Stranger Things and IT. It seems he has been typecast in the horror genre so I did worry that we would lose our suspense of reality by seeing him so regularly. I was also excited for this film’s lead Mackenzie Davis. She has been all over the place lately. Most recently she was seen in the last Terminator film and in the Netflix series Black Mirror. This week I wasn’t in Portsmouth. I went to Ashland and as I was walking into the theater a worker poked out and scared me. I think I jumped 3 feet in the air. We were in for a long night.
Onto the film.
We open with classic eerie music akin to horror films. It set the tone for the next hour and a half. We open on the manor and see a young woman running to escape. Spoiler alert. She doesn’t make it. We then cut to our heroine Kate Mandell (Davis) she is taking a new job to become the live-in nanny for the estate we just saw. We also are shown it’s the 90s. Kurt Cobain has just died, and I felt at first this was an unnecessary facet to the film. I was wrong. Throughout this film we are treated to 90s era music intertwining with “eerie” horror sounds. Also, the costumes for the cast scream 90s. I found myself paying more attention to what they were wearing, and I was impressed with the tone mentioned with a new segment about Kurt Cobain aiding so much to the feel of this story.
Mandell (Davis) was off to the estate to tutor young Flora Fairchild (Prince) We meet her, and she is adorable. A side-note on her acting. We’ve watched films in the past where the child actors aren’t as strong as their adult counterparts. This isn’t the case here. Flora (Prince) is one of the strongest in this cast. We then meet Mrs. Grose (Marten) the house caretaker. She is INCREDIBLY creepy. You meet her and immediately think…NOPE. Miles Fairchild (Wolfhard) is currently at boarding school. He will later come into play.
The twist and turns throughout this film are never-ending. I kept going back and forth thinking. Is our cast being haunted? Is Kate Mandell (Davis) losing her mind? I was impressed. The music and the lighting all work well here as well. Several shots flow into the other to play tricks on the audience. (Nice effect) The star of this film is without a doubt Kate Mandell. The actress Mackenzie Davis was great in Black Mirror. She crushed it here. Throughout the film you’ll see all the cast interacting with each other and each relationship plays well of each other. Motherly with Kate and Flora. A weird “babysitter” vibe between Kate and Miles. You’ll see what I mean. Mrs. Grose is just all around odd. So, there’s that.
I haven’t left a film in a quite a while where I said wow. I will give a small warning. People will love or hate this ending. I won’t say anything else besides after the credits rolled, I sat for a minute and processed it all. I immediately googled “The Turning Ending.” I don’t think we’ve reviewed a film where I’ve told you. GO SEE THIS. DON’T SPOIL THE ENDING. I am saying that now. I’m not giving it a perfect rating as I know some will hate not every question is answered, but I’m telling you go see this film. #SHOPLOCAL 4 ½ stars out of 5
Andrew McManus is Operations Manager for Patties & Pints and its parent company Eflow Development. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 740-981-9158