‘The Turning’ is a retelling of Henry James’ ‘The Turning of the Shrew’. It stars Mackenzie Davis, who I love, and she is wonderful in this.
Davis stars as a teacher who takes a job as live in tutor/nanny to two orphans. She soon finds that the boy has been expelled from school for strangling another student and the girl is afraid to leave the property. The housekeeper is secretive and judgmental and refers to the children as “thoroughbreds”.
The nanny is tormented by nightmares, ghosts, and the boy (Finn Wolfhard, Stranger Things) who is mean spirited and cruel. She also has a sick mother living in hospital. Not sure if it’s a nursing home or a mental facility, but her mother has some mental illness that may or may not be hereditary. The film is not clear on it by drops some hints. She sends her daughter some paintings which are nothing more than black ink covering paper. You know it’s going to come into play later since they made such a big deal about adding the paintings to the movie.
The gothic atmosphere and Davis’ performance carry what is a pretty good first two thirds of a movie. Then Davis receives the paintings and it all goes down hill. The ending is shocking in how baffling it is. Really, it’s a non-ending. Just when you think the nanny has removed the children from the haunted house, you are thrown back in time to when she received the paintings and the film veers off and just ends without any resolution.
This abrupt nonsensical ending ruins what would have been a fine entry into the gothic haunted house sub-genre of horror films. Maybe one day we will get a directors cut with a proper ending. Until then, I suggest you not waste money on this one. One of the worst endings I have seen in recent memory.
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