“The Turning” has the makings of a first-rate horror film, a rare pleasure in an age where the movie industry has experienced an influx of subpar movies relying solely on heavy gore and other cheap, cliché means of unsettling its audience. Initially, I felt the movie had potential as it possesses talented actors, cinematography well-fitted for its aesthetic, and an intriguing, unique plot line. The film, based on the novel The Turn of the Key, follows a newly employed live-in teacher, Kate (Mackenzie Davis), who finds herself caring for two orphaned but privileged children, Miles (Finn Wolfhard) and Flora (Brooklynn Prince). As soon as she begins her new duties, Kate finds herself unsettled by the disturbing history of the residence and its inhabitants, as well as terrified by the entities within the house—both alive and dead. I found myself wondering why it held a meager Rotten Tomatoes rating of 13%, however, it became clear as the film concluded and I left the theater feeling cheated out of a decent ending of what could have been a good story.
In my personal opinion, what makes a horror movie superior is—above all else—a powerful, strong ending. Of course, there are many other qualities which are crucial as well to making a good horror movie, but the films I find myself enjoying the most always end in a manner which captivates my thoughts for days after my viewing it. “The Turning” does somewhat have this effect, however the clumsy execution leaves you feeling disoriented and confused, but not in a good way.
The conclusion should be impactful in some way, whether it is tragic, unexpected, or open-ended to leave the audience with unanswered questions which they can ponder over and draw their own conclusions from. “The Turning” chooses the latter route, however, this ending is too open-ended to give the audience an indication of any actual meaning, not to mention it was an abrupt closing. I was shocked when the credits started rolling following the final scene as I was expecting more explanation or closure than was given.
Usually someone on the internet can come up with some sort of plausible explanation for such an ambiguous movie ending, however, after scouring the web, I came up empty-handed as everyone seems to be just as confused as I am. If you feel that you absolutely must see “The Turning”, make sure you go with someone you don’t mind sitting next to, for an hour and forty minutes, while you patiently wait for an ending which elicits any response other than perplexion or disappointment.
It’s been decided. “The Turning” has officially received a burn notice.
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