Cast: Mackenzie Davis, Finn Wolfhard, Brooklyn Prince, Joely Richardson
Director: Floria Sigismondi
Who knew that you could actually make a horror movie where absolutely nothing happens. The Turning isn’t just a bad January movie that you can just write off as a flop, but this may be one of the worst horror movies I’ve ever seen. It’s a fundamental failure on almost every level and shows that Universal had no business releasing this movie theatrically. Boring, unscary, and ultimately baffling, The Turning sets a new floor for what a horror movie should never do and manages to lull and confuse audiences rather try to do something that would excite or interest them.
The follows Kate Mandell (Davis), a young woman who takes an opportunity to work as a nanny/live-in teacher for Miles (Wolfhard) and Flora (Prince) Fairchild. While this seems like a pretty straightforward job at first, she soon realizes that the house and these children are not all they appear to be and this causes tension for Kate as she tries to work. Over the course of 94 minutes, we watch as Kate learns more about the history of the house and the children and the consequences of her actions. Let cut to the chase and go right after the biggest issue this movie has; the ending. Most horror movies, even the bad ones, have some sort of defining conclusion to their plots with either the protagonist succeeding or the force of evil seeping into society and spreading to others. In the case of The Turning, the movie tries to be too clever for its own good and tries to leave the ending ambiguous so that we never know what really happened. The main issue with this is that there’s no buildup in the movie to warrant this type of ending. It’s about 80 minutes of a movie focusing on the plot and attempting to show us something coherent, but then it throws in a little twist at the end with no buildup or explanation. The movie leading up to this point wasn’t exactly something to write home about, but by trying to be smarter than their environment, they end up leaving audiences in a state of disarray instead of giving them a positive reaction right before it ends. It’s a shame, because Davis is a good actress who is completely wasting her time here. I know Prince is a rising child star, but she’s horribly miscast in this movie and looks like she’s impossible of doing anything sadistic. This movie is a complete failure from start to finish and I can’t believe some lesser studio didn’t just throw this on a streaming service to see if someone caught onto it. There’s nothing impressive, intimidating, or rewarding about The Turning, and it perplexes me that there were movie professionals who thought this movie was a good idea, but I guess they figured that January audiences are dumb enough to see any crap horror movie that a major studio throws out there. When you have legitimate names attached to your movie regardless of the genre, you have to produce something valuable or you end up failing everyone involved.
Overall, The Turning is living proof of just how bad a January horror movie can be when there’s no thought or care put into it. Dreamworks has completely misplayed what they should be doing here and has shown us their producers and directors need to take a moment of reflection to see what went wrong. Hopefully everyone can recover from this embarrassment in the future, but for the time being there are no redeeming qualities that can be associated with The Turning.
Overall Score: 1.5/10