By Matt Pascarella
Running time: 1 hour 34 min
A giant mansion with a checkered past. A governess hired to look after two unique children. Strange behaviors. A possible haunting. “The Turning” is based on the Henry James novella “The Turn of the Screw,” in which children suspect their estate is haunted. Overall, this is a decent movie with only one flaw.
It begins with a woman running from a large mansion, panicked and terrified. She is struggling to leave and does everything she can to leave the grounds as quickly as possible.
Kate (Mackenzie Davis) just got a job as a teacher, to Flora (Brooklynn Prince) who lives in the large mansion the woman was shown fleeing from in the beginning. Before arriving at the house, Kate stops to visit her mother (Joely Richardson) in a care facility. Once at the mansion, the first person she meets is Mrs. Grose, the caretaker (Barbara Marten). Mrs. Grose has been with the family for many, many years.
Kate and Flora meet and discuss a variety of topics. While giving Kate a tour of the estate, Flora mentions she has no friends. At another point in the movie, Mrs. Grose says that Flora doesn’t leave the grounds; I thought this was an immediate clue about Flora’s existence. Why would someone not be able to leave the grounds, even under supervision?
Flora tells Kate of her prior governess, Ms. Jessel (Denna Thomsen) and how she never got to say goodbye to her.
Flora’s older brother Miles (Finn Wolfhard) returns from school and it’s learned he was expelled for attacking another student. Miles’ behavior toward Kate is unsettling from the start.
Weird things happen inside the house. Kate sees things and hears noises. Is it actually happening or is it in her head? Kate finds Ms. Jessel’s diary and learns about the former stablemaster, Quint (Niall Greig Fulton) who died in a horse accident.
Flora gets scared as she, Miles and Kate are about to leave the grounds; things get heated from there. Miles gets angry and tells Kate to leave like everyone else has. Kate wonders if she can do this and considered quitting.
Kate continues to see things in the house. More disturbing information comes from Ms. Jessel’s diary.
Later, Kate makes a discovery about Mrs. Grose.
What is going on in this house? Is it haunted? And what does Mrs. Grose know? What will happen to Flora and Miles? What does the future hold for Kate?
This is a decent horror movie; it’s not gory, or overly violent, but good enough that it keeps you interested. In watching it, I recognized some of the names and realized that the Netflix series “The Haunting of Bly Manor” is similar to this movie – they end very differently though.
Available on Showtime and to rent. <