The Turning (2020)

Floria Sigismondi directs Mackenzie Davis, Brooklynn Prince and Finn Wolfhard in the 1990-set adaptation of Henry James’ ghost chiller The Turn of the Screw.

I kept willing this to kick into life and start getting scary or unpredictable, then suddenly it ended, abruptly, and I’m not entirely sure what happened. I know I wasn’t entertained or fearful. The grunge era setting wasn’t really exploited unless you count the fact that it exists in a world where it can feel somewhat current but not have google or smartphones. The cast is likeable enough. Brooklynn Prince gives a very untethered child performance and there’s a spark there you don’t see in more cookie cutter kid actors. Mackenzie Davis has better lead turns in her. It is just baffling why this feels both jarring yet Paint-by-Numbers. Only the end credits of a non-diegetic hand aimlessly stroking floral wallpaper to a Lynchian industrial noise score has any oomph. Maybe 90 minutes of that would have been more effective. Feels wasteful.


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