Malignant is a 2021 American horror film directed by James Wan from a screenplay by Akela Cooper, based on an original story by Wan, Ingrid Bisu, and Cooper. The film was released in the cinemas and on HBO Max in September 2021. Malignant is mainly a slasher movie, with faint unexplained paranormal tropes.(more…)
Fear Street Part Three 1666 is a 2021 American slasher film directed by Leigh Janiak, with a script co-written by Phil Graziadei and Janiak, from an original story by Kyle Killen, Graziadei, and Janiak. Based on the book series of the same name by R. L. Stine, the film was released by Netflix on July 9, 2021 as the third and final instalment in the Fear Street trilogy.(more…)
Fear Street Part Two 1978 is a 2021 American slasher horror drama film directed by Leigh Janiak, with a script co-written by Phil Graziadei and Janiak, from an original story by Kyle Killen, Graziadei, and Janiak. Based on the book series of the same name by R. L. Stine, the film was released by Netflix on July 9, 2021 as the second instalment in the Fear Street Trilogy.(more…)
Fear Street Part One 1994 is a 2021 American slasher film directed by Leigh Janiak, with a script co-written by Phil Graziadei and Janiak, from an original story by Kyle Killen, Graziadei, and Janiak. Based on the book series of the same name by R. L. Stine, the film was released by Netflix on July 2, 2021 as the first installment in the Fear Street Trilogy.(more…)
A Quiet Place Part II is a 2021 American scifi horror film, and the sequel to 2018’s A Quiet Place, following the family from the first film as they continue to navigate and survive in a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by blind aliens with an acute sense of hearing. If you have read our review of the original movie, you would be aware that we found the premise to be critically flawed. Obviously that flawed premise has not changed but there are even more problems with the story of A Quiet Place Part II, as our analysis reveals.(more…)
The Hand is a 1981 American psychological horror film written and directed by Oliver Stone, based on the novel The Lizard’s Tail by Marc Brandel. The film stars Michael Caine as Jon Lansdale, a comic book artist who loses his hand, which in turn takes on a murderous life of its own.(more…)
Predator is a 1987 scifi action thriller drama film directed by John McTiernan and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The film spawned a direct sequel – Predator 2 (1990) – a couple of spin-offs with Alien vs Predator (2004), Alien vs Predator (2007) and Predators (2010) – as well as a reboot with The Predator (2018).(more…)
The Thing is a 1982 scifi horror drama thriller film directed by John Carpenter. Based on John W. Campbell Jr.’s Who Goes There? The Thing was ostensibly also a remake of Howard Hawk’s The Thing From Another World (1951) which was also an adaptation of Campbell’s 1938 novella.(more…)
Raiders of the Lost Ark is a 1981 action-adventure drama film directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Lawrence Kasdan, based on a story by George Lucas and Philip Kaufman. Raiders of the Lost Ark starred Harrison Ford as archaeologist-adventurer Indiana Jones and launched a franchise, with three subsequent films.(more…)
Army of the Dead is a 2021 American horror action drama film directed by Zack Snyder, with a screenplay he co-wrote with Shay Hatten and Joby Harold, based on a story by Snyder. The film had been in development hell at Warner Bros since 2007 before being picked up by Netflix in 2019. Army of the Dead marks Zack Snyder’s first new film since Justice League and the release was accompanied has been accompanied with the attendant hype from the buzz over The Snyder Cut and so on.(more…)
Love Death + Robots Volume 2 is the second season of an American adult animated anthology streaming television series on Netflix. Volume 1 debuted in 2019 and like Love Death + Robots Volume 2 is somewhat a mixed bag. However, the difference between the two volumes is that Volume 2 is ten episodes shorter. Arguably that fact might make Volume 2 more digestible for a quick binge.(more…)
30 Coins is a Spanish supernatural horror fantasy TV drama that draws heavily from the Catholic religion and mythology. The series is created and directed by noted Spanish filmmaker Álex de la Iglesia. The 8-part 30 Coins Season 1 of is an ambitious mystery thriller utilising several conspiracy theories relating to the Catholic church, much in the vein of Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series.
Our analysis of 30 Coins Season 1 contains spoilers.(more…)
Synchronic is an American science fiction horror drama directed and produced by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead and written by Benson. It stars Jamie Dornan and Anthony Mackie. The film has been touted by many critics as one of the best scifi movies of 2020. Benson and Moorhead have a good reputation as cutting-edge indie scifi directors with previous well-received movies like Spring and The Endless. The duo are also working together on the upcoming Disney+/Marvel Studios streaming Moon Knight series.(more…)
Crimson Peak is a 2015 gothic romance horror drama directed by Guillermo Del Toro. The film stars Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain in the lead roles with Charlie Hunnam and Jim Beaver as support.(more…)
Freaky is a 2020 comedy horror drama film based loosely on the classic 1978 Freaky Friday movie which has been remade several times over the years since. The twist in Freaky is that this time, the protagonist switches bodies – not with her mother – but with a serial killer!(more…)
Run is a psychological horror drama starring Sarah Paulson and Kiera Allen. The premise of Run is very Stephen King-inspired as it involves a protagonist being kept captive by an antagonist, that happens to be a caregiver. Quite similar to King’s Misery except that instead of author and psychotic fan, we get daughter and psychotic mother.(more…)
The Entity is a supernatural horror drama that bears all the hallmarks of classic 1970s horror though it was ultimately released in 1982/1983. The best reference point for The Entity is probably The Exorcist for its viscerally serious exploration of its subject matter and also for its connection with a real-life incident.(more…)
The Sentinel is a 1977 supernatural horror drama based on the novel of the same name by Jeffrey Konvitz. Directed by Michael Winner, The Sentinel is about a young model (Cristina Raines) who moves into a historic Brooklyn brownstone that has been sectioned into apartments, only to find that the building is owned by the Catholic diocese and is a gateway to Hell.(more…)
The New Mutants is a superhero horror movie directed by Josh Boone. The final movie in the Fox X-Men franchise series, The New Mutants is loosely based on the Marvel comic book series of the same name, in particular the Demon Bear Saga that ran from #18 – #20, in the 80s.(more…)
Possessor is an indie scifi horror movie written and directed by Brandon Cronenberg. Horror buffs will of course recognise the name Cronenberg. Brandon is the son of iconic film-maker David Cronenberg, director of movies like The Fly, Dead Ringers, Scanners, Rabid et al.(more…)
Is The Exorcist the best horror movie ever made? Based on William Peter Blatty’s best-selling novel and directed by William Friedkin, the 1973 movie was a smash hit when it was first released and its significance and influence on the genre has not diminished in the years since.(more…)
If you are looking for no-frills, lo-fi, indie horror thrills, look no further than the excellent Rent-A-Pal. Written and directed by Jon Stevenson, Rent-A-Pal stars Wil Wheaton (of Star Trek fame) and Brian Landis Folkins, as the protagonist.(more…)
The Swerve is a psychological drama written and directed by Dean Kapsalis. In his first feature film, Kapsalis presents a deep character study of a descent into mental insanity. It is a harrowing and disturbing film that showcases a promising debut from newcomer Kapsalis.(more…)
The Changeling is a Canadian supernatural horror film directed by Peter Medak and starring George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere, and Melvyn Douglas. The film uses ghosts and haunted house tropes to deliver its psychological terrors. Released in 1980, The Changeling is imbued with classic 70s horror vibes where the scares are often in the mind of the viewer. (Spoilers follow)(more…)
After viewing The Haunting of Bly Manor on Netflix, a loose adaptation of Henry James’ Turn of the Screw and other short stories, it seemed appropriate to check out yet another Turn of the Screw adaptation – The Turning.
The Turning is an updating of James’ classic ghost story. Set in 1994, the premise is maintained, i.e. a young governess is hired to watch over two children after their parents’ deaths. Strange things ensue …
Same old story?
The cast of characters should be familiar to anyone who has read Turn of the Screw or seen its numerous adaptations. There is the unnamed governess (Kate Mandel, in this latest iteration – played by Mackensie Davis). She is of course the protagonist of the story as the plot is centred on her decisions and actions.
There are the two orphaned children, Flora (Brooklynn Prince) and Miles (Finn Wolfhard) and the housekeeper Mrs Grose (Barbara Marten). The previous governess Miss Jessel had mysteriously disappeared and there is also the deceased Mr Quint, a former employee.
In The Turning, Mandel is given a back story in the shape of her institutionalised mother. This provides a suggestion, nothing more, of mental illness within Mandel’s own psychological makeup.
Nothing new under the sun
Plot-wise, The Turning is faithful to Turn of the Screw up to a point. Miles returns to the family home after expulsion from boarding school but almost instantly takes a dislike to Mandel and terrorises her for the rest of the movie.
Apart from Miles’ bullying behaviour, Mandel encounters various strange events, which may either be supernatural or a product of Mandel’s disturbed imagination. Basically, she discovers that Miss Jessel may have been raped and drowned by Mr Quint but that is never confirmed as a fact. Mr Quint also terrorises Mandel but once again, it’s unclear whether any of what Mandel experienced is real or not.
Making a right mess of things
That’s the whole problem with The Turning. Everything is left up in the air. The narrative is ambiguous and it’s difficult for a viewer to make head or tail of it all. The final act is the worst of all as an entire sequence is revealed to be a vision of Mandel’s, experienced by her after she looked upon artwork sent by her mother.
Then, rather abruptly, Mandel is affronted by the children as she confronts them about the ghostly presence of Mr Quint before inexplicably being trapped in her own mind. Mandel finds herself at her mother’s institution and is terrified by something the audience is not privy to.
In the final analysis …
A senseless denouement which simply falls apart. Having done quick research, it does seem that originally the project had Steven Spielberg’s involvement. The famed director pulled his participation from the project due to dissatisfaction with its development.
Subsequently, a new director was hired and new script was written but apparently with Spielberg losing interest. The result is this unsatisfying mess. Avoid.
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