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Film / The Turning

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The Turning is a 2020 American supernatural horror film and a modern adaptation of the 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw. Steven Spielberg serves as an executive producer, and it stars Mackenzie Davis, Finn Wolfhard, and Brooklynn Prince.

As in the original novel, the plot focuses on a nanny (Davis) charged with taking care of two disturbed orphans, Miles and Flora (Wolfhard and Prince). Soon, however, she finds that not everything is as it appears to be and that there may be dark forces at work within the mansion they live in...

Previews: Official Trailer

This film provides examples of the following tropes:

  • The '90s: The plot is presumably set in 1994, especially given the fact that the opening scene features a news report about Kurt Cobain's suicide.
  • All Just a Dream: The climax turns out to be a delusion of Kate's.
  • Ambiguous Situation: How much of the haunting was real, and how much of it was Kate being delusional and paranoid?
  • Cheerful Child: Flora is fairly cheerful, which makes some of the things she says even more disturbing.
  • Cool Big Bro: Contrary to the way he behaves around Kate, Miles is actually quite kind to Flora, making it clear why she adores him.
  • Creepy Child: Miles and Flora, naturally.
  • Gainax Ending: The film literally presents us with two different endings based on whether the ghosts are real or Kate has just lost her mind. We're basically left to just choose which one we prefer.
  • Mercy Kill: Miles performs this on a partly-eaten (but still alive) fish by crushing its head, reasoning that "nothing should have to suffer".
  • Named by the Adaptation: The governess/nanny went unnamed in the original story; here, her name is Kate Mandell.
  • Railing Kill: This happens to Mrs. Grose near the end.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Miles survives to the end here, unlike the original story.
  • Spiders Are Scary: Miles pukes up a spider in one scene (exclusive to the trailers and the alternate ending).