The Turning ½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Alright, someone at Universal needs to be FIRED for releasing this and Dolittle back-to-back.

Seriously, what ??? the hell ??? did I ??? just watch ???

This is borderline unprofessional. I cannot believe a legitimately unfinished film would be released nationwide like this. I don’t think I’ve seen an audience THIS angry at a film’s “conclusion” (lmao if you can even call it that) since The Devil Inside. Couples around me were literally storming out of the theater to ask for their money back.

And honestly, I feel horrible for the cast. They actually do quite well! Mackenzie Davis is a magnetic presence even among a mess like this, and Finn Wolfhard and Brooklynn Prince are suitably strange as the creepy children at the center of this story. Director Floria Sigismondi has an admirable grasp on atmosphere as well, and even though the first 90 minutes of this just feel like a bunch of scattershot scenes and scares stitched together, it’s not woefully unwatchable by any means.

But WOW does everything come to a screeching halt in those final five minutes. And I’m not simply labeling this film’s finale as a “disappointing denouement” or faulting it for “aimless ambiguity”. I mean that things literally just END, with ZERO explanation. There isn’t even a HINT as to which of the numerous narrative threads proved to be the “definitive” interpretation. And I’m all for a bit of vagueness - I definitely don’t need my hand held as I’m watching a movie, especially in more daring genre fare with multiple meanings - but this is just egregiously unacceptable.

We get a preview of a rushed, yet still slightly satisfying, ending, and then after this beat is revealed to be a vision, the film lumbers on through a few more disconnected hallucinations(?)/dreams(?) before flat out just STOPPING in the MIDDLE of a scene (that also happens to be yet another vision - I think?). And then... roll credits?

I don’t know guys. I really don’t know. This seriously might be the worst “ending” I’ve seen in any film ever. Maybe that’s hyperbole because I just got out of this screening and my mind is scrambled but... yiiiiiikes.

I realize this film had an utterly abysmal production (terrible test screenings, countless release date shuffles, extensive reshoots - in which a storyline about Davis’s character’s “crazy” mother was added entirely), but I’m still astounded that they couldn’t salvage this into anything more coherent or cohesive.

I’m very sorry this review isn’t as concise or as structured as normal but... I really had no idea of how to process my thoughts after seeing this shitshow.

ANYWAYS, we’ll be back to traditional reviews tomorrow with my take on The Gentlemen, but until then...

DON’T. SEE. THE TURNING.

2020 Ranked

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