The Turning

Brooklynn Prince in The Turning (2020)

I saw two movies today and it was a weird coincidence.  One was pretty good and then had a miserable third act that totally ruined it for me whereas the other one was slow and dull for the first part but really came together in the end, saving it for me.

I’ll start with the one that had the third act that ruined the movie.  Ladies and gentlemen… The Turning.

Based on the novel The Turning of the Screw, this film sees Kate (Mackenzie Davis), a young governess, hired to look after and teach a young girl named Flora (Brooklynn Prince) after her parents had died.  Her mischievous brother Miles (Finn Wolfhard) returned from private school to cause trouble.  However, the estate in which the children live is apparently haunted.

I came into this with low expectations, which probably helped the first couple of acts.  I was somewhat in on the story because I expected that there may be something mysterious happening.  And the film was being shot well.  They avoided the typical jump scares and seemed as if it were heading towards some kind of psychological horror movie.  It got my hopes up.

Understand that the first part of the movie still had its issues.  Flora was afraid completely of leaving the estate because she thought she would die, and I do not think that Kate ever once asked her about it.  When things started going wrong, Kate could have easily left at any point.  There is a point where she thinks about it, but it seems to me that she would have gone way earlier.

Kate felt as if she was over the top a lot, and, as a teacher, you would think that she would have had a better grasp on how to deal with a misbehaving child like Miles.  She immediately treated him poorly, snapping at him as he was disturbing his sister’s studies.  That moment did not do any good at creating a relationship between her and Miles.

So there were issues, but it still felt as if the movie had a plan on where they were taking it. Au contraire.  The third act came along and turned into a confusing, convoluted mess with a ghost and a mishmash of the story up until this point.

And worse yet… the ending totally blew any good will the film may have still had right out of the water.  Honestly, it was one of the worst endings (if you want to call it that) that I have ever seen.  I am just flabbergasted that the movie thought this was a good idea to end this movie as it did.

Mackenzie Davis was fine, but she felt as if she was overacting.  Finn Wolfhard and Brooklynn Prince were effectively creepy.  The housekeeper (Barbara Marten) was probably the standout in the movie, creating a character that clearly had more knowledge than the others in the story and looked sufficiently scary.

While, for a while, I was on board with The Turning, it took a hard left and derailed any potential enjoyment I may have had.  Unfortunately, the last third of the movie out weighed the other parts in this case and ended with a very negative feeling.

2.6 stars


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