Right out of the gate, I’ll tell you I don’t generally like traditional horror movies; anything in the realm of supernatural doesn’t hit me unless it’s particularly well done. With that said, I always have an open mind going into every movie. You never know. Unfortunately, Floria Sigismondi’s The Turning ended up backing up almost every other review that other people had given it.
Where do I even begin? It’s been a long time since I had seen a movie that made me ask “What was the point of all of that?” Dissecting any script will usually leave you with at least one or two points that could make you understand sort of what the screenplay was trying to grasp. With The Turning, every time I felt like I knew what the movie was aiming for, it went off in some other discernible direction. This movie had no idea what it wanted to be. Still, this is a horror movie, so maybe some good scares, right? Nope. None. Not a single good moment that wasn’t either laughable or a dollar store brand jump scare. There’s zero redeeming value in the direction of this movie.
The movie follows a young woman, Kate Mendell (Mackenzie Davis), as she leaves her current job and her roommate to become a live-in tutor for a 7-year old girl, Flora (Brooklynn Prince). Along the way we meet the extremely protective life-long caregiver, Mrs. Grose (Barbara Marten), and the supremely spoiled son, Miles (Finn Wolfhard); all of which who live alone in a giant manor as the parents had passed away in a car crash. Creepy stuff happens. You learn about the history of one of the characters. That’s about it. No, really. Again, here I wouldn’t be opposed to being more open-minded had the characters been good, but no one is likable or smart here. As with every bad horror movie, you’re left wondering why the main character is falling into the same old tropes of bad decision over and over again
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
As mentioned in the plot section, none of these people are worth giving time to. I didn’t enjoy a single one. Everyone had some extreme issues that made things not enjoyable to watch, and no character had a strong arc towards likability. With two stellar and notable actors, you’d assume we’d at least get some strong moments with them… but no. The dialogue was cringey at times, and nothing was explored to give these characters a reason for why they did what they did. There was an attempt to usher one of the characters’ motivations, but it soon fell flat when nothing else was explained about it.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Here’s my biggest lenient moment. If there’s one thing I want everyone to know about me with horror movies is I hate jump scares that are brought on by loud moments in quiet times. That’s so incredibly lazy and doesn’t lend itself to being an actual scare. I can go up to any person on this planet and blast them with a loud noise and it’ll scare them. That deserves negative credit every time a stupid horror movie does this. While Turning does this, I will give them the fact that the score wasn’t bad. It was your generic horror movie soundtrack with strings and long sweeps, but that was totally fine and enjoyable. I was happy with that at least.
This is probably where I start to get a little nitpicky, but this film doesn’t need to be defended. The film takes place in the 90s, which it made a thing to point out. If it weren’t for the sweaters or choice in music, I assume the only reason it wanted to keep this decision was to keep cell phones away. The film spends so much time in the manor that there’s nothing to really expand on. Any scenes away from the house to showcase the dreary feeling vs. the outside world would’ve been welcome. Here we are though, again.
If a movie is so bad that I get a good laugh out of it, I’m happy. If a movie is so bad that it’s boring and forgettable, I’m deeply upset knowing I’ll die with, in this case, 94 minutes less on this planet that I could’ve spent looking at a rock race a cactus. The horror genre can be the most progressive and innovative out there, but also the most safe and boring, and it frankly deserves a lot better than The Turning.