Why is 'The Turning' Movie So Bad? An In-Depth Analysis

Why is ‘The Turning’ Movie So Bad? An In-Depth Analysis

Why is ‘The Turning’ Movie So Bad? An In-Depth Analysis

The Premise:

The Turning, released in 2020, is a modern adaptation of Henry James’ classic novel ‘The Turn of the Screw’. The film follows a young governess who is hired to take care of two orphans in a mysterious mansion. However, as strange occurrences and ghostly sightings start to unfold, the governess begins to question her own sanity and the dark secrets that surround her.

The Expectations:

As a horror movie based on a renowned literary work, the expectations for The Turning were high. Fans of the genre were excited to see a fresh interpretation of the chilling tale, while fans of the novel were eager to see how the story would be brought to life on the big screen. With a talented cast and a promising premise, many believed The Turning had the potential to be a hit.

The Execution:

Unfortunately, The Turning falls short in many aspects, leaving audiences disappointed and perplexed. Here are some key factors contributing to the movie’s poor reception:

1. Weak Storytelling: One of the biggest issues with The Turning is its lackluster storytelling. The plot feels disjointed and fails to create a cohesive narrative. Many crucial elements from the book are omitted or poorly explained, leaving viewers confused and disconnected from the story.

2. Underdeveloped Characters: The characters in The Turning lack depth and fail to engage the audience. The governess, played by Mackenzie Davis, doesn’t have a compelling arc, and her motivations are unclear. The children she cares for, played by Finn Wolfhard and Brooklynn Prince, also feel underutilized, with their potential to be eerie and complex characters left untapped.

3. Misuse of Atmosphere: Atmospheric horror is a key component of The Turning’s source material, yet the film fails to capitalize on this aspect. The creepy ambiance and potential for psychological thriller elements are overshadowed by jump scares and clichéd horror tropes, diminishing the overall impact of the movie.

4. Inconsistent Tone: The Turning suffers from inconsistent tonal shifts, making it difficult for viewers to fully invest in the story. The movie oscillates between psychological horror, supernatural thriller, and even a romantic subplot, leaving audiences unsure of what kind of movie they are watching.

The Impact:

The Turning’s failure to meet expectations has resulted in a negative reception from both critics and audiences alike. The movie currently holds a low rating on review aggregation websites, with criticisms focusing on the film’s lack of scares, poor character development, and a convoluted plot. The Turning serves as a prime example of a missed opportunity to breathe new life into a beloved literary classic.


In conclusion, The Turning falls short of delivering a satisfying horror experience. Despite its potential, the film suffers from weak storytelling, underdeveloped characters, and a misuse of atmosphere. The lack of coherence and inconsistent tone make it difficult for viewers to engage with the movie fully. While it may still find a niche audience among die-hard fans of the novel, The Turning is ultimately a disappointment for both horror enthusiasts and fans of the source material.


1. Was “The Turning” movie received well by critics and audiences?

No, “The Turning” movie received mostly negative reviews from both critics and audiences.

2. What are some common criticisms of “The Turning”?

Some common criticisms of “The Turning” include a confusing and muddled plot, lackluster performances, and an unsatisfying ending.

3. Did “The Turning” effectively adapt the source material?

No, many fans of the original source material, “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James, felt that the movie failed to capture the essence and depth of the novel.

4. Were there any standout performances in “The Turning”?

Unfortunately, “The Turning” lacked standout performances, with many critics and viewers finding the acting to be subpar and unconvincing.

5. Did “The Turning” rely too heavily on jump scares?

Yes, “The Turning” leaned heavily on jump scares, which became predictable and diluted the overall impact of the horror elements within the movie.

6. Were there any redeeming qualities in “The Turning”?

While opinions may vary, some viewers appreciated the film’s atmospheric cinematography and eerie production design as redeeming qualities.

7. Did the ending of “The Turning” leave audiences satisfied?

No, the ending of “The Turning” was widely criticized for being confusing, abrupt, and ultimately unsatisfying.

8. Did “The Turning” effectively build suspense throughout the movie?

Many viewers found that “The Turning” struggled to maintain a consistent level of suspense, with pacing issues and lack of tension undermining the intended atmosphere.

9. Was “The Turning” a faithful adaptation of Henry James’ novel?

Opinions vary, but a significant number of fans of the novel felt that “The Turning” failed to capture the intricacies and psychological depth of Henry James’ work.

10. Can the flaws in “The Turning” be attributed to its director?

While it’s common to assign blame to the director when a film falls short, ultimately, the flaws in “The Turning” can be attributed to a combination of factors, including the script, performances, and overall execution.