Review: Turn of the Screw (BBC Film)

Words by Naomi Jefferys

“There you are. We’ve been waiting for you”

The Turn of the Screw is a novella by Henry James which the BBC adapted in 2009. The story follows a Governess living and working in a beautiful house. She is the Governess of two ‘creepy’ blonde children, Miles and Flora. One of the many questions which the adaptation and the novella begs to ask is the question of madness and the devil.

Sandy Welch, the writer of the adaptation of the film decided to set it in the 1920s, instead of at the turn of the century how Henry James originally wrote it. The wound is still fresh for the soldiers in the mental asylum which Ann is forced to go to.

There are stellar performances, particularly from Michelle Dockery (otherwise known as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey) who carries the weight of the film on her shoulders.  Her portrayal of Ann is brilliant, the film opens with Ann dishevelled in a mental asylum, so the entirety of the film is told in flashback form. So the contrast of a ‘mad’ woman at the start of the film, to a decidedly naïve portrayal throughout the rest of the film, this makes her downfall all the greater.

If you’re in to big budget, special effects horror films such as Saw or Scream 4 then don’t watch this film. The effects are simple, but utterly terrifying. It is creepy, horror cinema at its best.

So if you’re still yearning for Halloween to return and you’ve still got some Haribos left then give this film a watch!


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