"The Turning" Movie Review
Remember in Age of Ultron when Vision started dropping Ultron clones and War Machine was in the background saying "Okay, what"? Well, that's my reaction to this film. I'm going to go ahead and tell you this is a spoiler review to save you the trouble of actually seeing the film. That makes it sound like it was horrible when it wasn't really bad but rather plagued by a bad ending. It was doing so well too and would have gotten a higher rating had the ending not been botched so horribly.
First, as usual, let me introduce the film with a brief summary. The Turning follows Kate who was hired as a live-in nanny to care for young Flora, who is afraid to leave the mansion grounds for some reason. Her brother Miles is expelled from boarding school and sent home early, giving Kate some extra work. Miles seems to be a disturbed kid, however, causing Kate to question his motives and her sanity.
Okay, so the film starts out pretty well. Before we're introduced to Kate, we see a woman running for her life away from the grounds while Flora watches. So immediately we're to think that the kid is either haunted or possessed. Then we move on to Kate getting the job as a live-in nanny. As a teacher, she's relieved to be trading 25 kids for one. I mean, we all would be, right? She visits a mental hospital and checks on her mom before heading on her way. Kate arrives at the mansion and already seems to be questioning whether this was the right move for her. She doesn't exactly get along with the housekeeper but the little girl, Flora, is too cute to not love. Pretty soon, we're introduced to Miles, Flora's brother, who was expelled from boarding school and sent home. Now Kate has to deal with two kids. It's immediately obvious that Miles is troubled and possibly mentally disturbed. Kate and Miles clash a lot, giving us some creepy moments for build-up. The hide-and-seek scene in the basement is especially well-done and masterfully chilling.
There's a moment in the film when Kate moves a lifelike mannequin into the sewing room. When Kate leaves the room, the mannequin's head moves on its own. (Okay, what?)
Kate's constantly seeing things from movement in the corner of her eye to straight up visions of past events. So the house is haunted, right? Kate receives mail from her mom's mental hospital. She had sent Kate some drawings that appear to be nothing but black chalk covering every page. "We can't choose our family," the housekeeper says. "Let's hope what your mother has isn't genetic."
Kate does some investigating and discovers that another caretaker named Quint attacked and killed the former nanny, Ms Jessel. (Okay, what? We saw her escape in a car. How did that happen?)
Kate figures out that Quint's malevolent spirit is what's causing all the creepy incidents in the mansion, was messing with Miles' mind, and causing Flora to be afraid to leave. After the spirit kills the housekeeper, Kate grabs the kids and escapes in her car.
Instead of ending there, where it should have, we're taken back to the moment when Kate opens the mail from her mother. When she starts saying she's seeing Quint, the kids act like she's crazy. Kate's actions cause Flora to drop her doll, which shatters. Kate says she can fix it but Miles retorts, "No you can't. You can't fix it because it's broken, just like you." (Okay, what? So Kate's just crazy?)
Lastly, we see Kate in the mental hospital with her mother. As Kate approaches, her mother turns and Kate screams. (Okay, what?)
Here's my problem with this ending. If Kate was crazy the whole time, then everything that happened with Jessel and Quint either never mattered or never happened and it was all either meaningless or all in Kate's head. It's possible Kate was relating what happened in her own childhood with what happened to Miles and Flora, but none of these theories are made clear. The film tried to make itself believe it was being smart and instead confused itself along with the rest of us.
In conclusion, what had a promising setup was destroyed in mere minutes. The Turning could have been a great horror but it's yet another which has fallen by the wayside, I give the film a 2 out of 4.
© 2020 Nathan Jasper