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The Turning review: Certainly the worst film inspired by Henry James' The Turning of the Screw

2 stars

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Miles Fairchild (Finn Wolfhard), Flora Fairchild (Brooklynn Prince) and Kate Mandell (Mackenzie Davis) in The Turning, directed by Floria Sigismondi.

Miles Fairchild (Finn Wolfhard), Flora Fairchild (Brooklynn Prince) and Kate Mandell (Mackenzie Davis) in The Turning, directed by Floria Sigismondi.

Miles Fairchild (Finn Wolfhard), Flora Fairchild (Brooklynn Prince) and Kate Mandell (Mackenzie Davis) in The Turning, directed by Floria Sigismondi.

Floria Sigismundi’s febrile gothic horror is not the first film to have been inspired by Henry James’ ghost story The Turn of the Screw, but it is certainly the worst.

Mackenzie Davis is Kate, a rather aimless young woman who takes a job as live-in governess to a little girl called Flora (Brooklynn Prince).

She lives in rural Maine, in a vast and crumbling mansion presided over by the starchy governess, Mrs. Goose (Barbara Marten).

Flora seems sweet, but rather neurotic: she often talks to people who don’t seem to be there, and is convinced she’ll die if she sets foot outside the estate.

Things get worse when Flora’s older brother Myles (Finn Wolfhard) is expelled from boarding school and returns home to take a creepy interest in Kate, who begins having ghostly visions at night.

Partly filmed in Ireland, The Turning starts solidly enough but is never in control of its story, and explodes spectacularly in a nonsensical last ten minutes.

(16, 94mins)

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Irish Independent