The Turning: Review

‘The Turning’ is a terrifyingly awful experience.


Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Finn Wolfhard, Mackenzie Davis and Brooklynn Prince star as Miles Fairchild, Kate Mandell and Flora Fairchild, respectively, in “The Turning.”

“The Turning” is horrifying, but not in the way a horror movie should be. 

The film is set in 1994. It centers on a young teacher, Kate (Mackenzie Davis), who takes a job as a caretaker for two orphaned children, Flora (Brooklyn Prince) and Miles (Finn Wolfhard).

Instead of brilliantly crafted practical effects or visuals, Director Floria Sigismoni takes a different—perhaps even scarier—route to tackle the horror genre.

As far as the acting could go for a script that is dry and mediocre at best, Prince delivers the most acceptable performance. Although it isn’t as memorable as her performance in “The Florida Project,” she does what feels like is the best for the lack of structure in the movie. The other performances feel ordinary, but they aren’t enough to combat the number of directions the film attempts to go in.

As the haunted house sub-genre usually goes, there are a range of clichés that usually follow suit, and “The Turning” doesn’t miss a single opportunity to use them. 

From the moment Kate moves into the house, she’s greeted with thunderstorms, creepy children, and of course, lots of creepy dolls. The film doesn’t hesitate to use every one of these clichés, but it’s not these alone that account for it’s Rotten Tomatoes audience score of 13%.

I think that even with all of the overdone horror stunts, and dull performances, the main problem with this film lies with the lack of direction in it as a whole. The film tries to take itself in so many different paths and in the end picks none of them.

From the little background knowledge we learn about Kate, we see that her mother is severely mentaly ill and is hospitalized and that’s about all we get until the ending of the movie.

I’ve never seen a horror movie where an audience in a theater was left genuinely confused, but “The Turning”’ was able to manage it. Instead of following any plot that was created, the ending scene abandons everything and chooses a sequence of Kate being back with her mother at the hospital, looking into her eyes and screaming, as if to say “Yep, this whole thing never happened!”

I was absolutely terrified at the lack of consistency and the abrupt nature in which the film ends. It was an awful way to make the 94 minutes of the movie absolutely meaningless. 

‘The Turning’ turned what could have been an average scary movie into an entire disaster. I will say that maybe a fun drinking game could ensue where you drink after every cliché or every confusing aspect.


Rating: 0.5 stars

Danielle Kessler can be reached at [email protected] or @reserv0irpups on Twitter.