Trailers for “The Turning” hinted at an interesting plot supported by impressive acting and writing. Whoever made the trailers for the movie should get a raise, because none of this was reflected in the movie. “The Turning” is a horror movie directed by Floria Sigismondi adapted from an 1898 ghost story. Sadly, this modern adaptation is rife with flaws.
The story follows full-time nanny Kate as she is hired to take care of children at a massive estate. Throughout, Kate is haunted by supernatural apparitions. Early on, it’s revealed that Kate’s mother has some sort of disease that makes her insane. Near the end of the film, it’s suggested that this disease might be genetic, and Kate might be hallucinating.
However, instead of functioning as a satisfying twist, it only makes the storyline frustrating and confusing. It also doesn’t help that the film essentially has three different endings due to Kate’s “insanity,” and the viewer doesn’t understand which is real or if any of them are. This twist ending also suffered from being incredibly abrupt and unsatisfying. In short, the plot twist isn’t clever; it’s simply frustrating.
Another aspect that brought the movie down was the underwhelming horror. The film mostly relied on very generic jumpscares, most of which evoked eye rolling rather than fear. The “it was only a dream” cliche is also painfully overused; it’s barely an exaggeration when I say that when Kate is in a perilous situation, it’s a dream two-thirds of the time. This adds even more to the viewer’s annoyance and confusion.
Another nail in “The Turning’s” coffin is the fact that it’s also incredibly boring, managing to make its short runtime seem too long. The film mostly consists of talking, and as already mentioned, the “scary” sequences aren’t even scary. This constant monotony prevents “The Turning” from even being a “so-bad-it’s-good” type of film.
If anything positive can be said, it’s that the actors performed well (which was especially impressive given the material they had to work with). Unfortunately, this wasn’t nearly enough to carry the film as a whole.
“The Turning’s” great cast and solid source material were unfortunately squandered, as the resulting film was tedious and convoluted.
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