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“The Turning” is a Let Down in ’90s Grunge Retelling of Victorian Classic

by Georgia Dodd

Directed by Floria Sigismondi
Out January 24

In her latest film, The Turning, Italian-Canadian director Floria Sigismondi retells the deeply haunting 100-year-old short story by Henry James, “The Turning of the Screw.”  A passion project of Steven Spielberg, this film focuses on Katie (Mackenzie Davis), a young woman who wants to serve as a governess for two disturbed children, Miles (Finn Wolfhard) and Flora (Brooklynn Prince). As the film progresses, Katie senses a dark presence in the house and in the children that promises harm–or is it just her mind unraveling.

Set in a historic estate in the Maine countryside in the 1990s, much of the film is a perfect blend of ’90s grunge style and attitude and the creeping shadows and whispers that is expected of gothic horror. Floria Sigismondi enlisted musicians like Courtney Love and Girl in Red to write their rendering of ’90s music. This angry, grunge soundtrack really sets the tone for the film and, as the thunderous percussion grows, Katie seems to lose more and more of her sanity. This film gloriously takes on female dismissal and the ways women can be forgotten, but the ending leaves little to the imagination. With jumps and scares, and high expectations, this movie’s cliff ending is endlessly frustrating. (3/5)


header image courtesy of Universal Pictures/The Turning

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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