top of page
  • Writer's pictureS.J.

Quick Reviews: 'The Rhythm Section', 'The Turning' | Blake Lively, Action Thriller, Gothic Horror

Blake Lively with short, brown hair, Mackenzie Davis holding Brooklynn Prince
The Rhythm Section (L), The Turning (R)


Here we might have a contender for the worst title of the year for a film: The Rhythm Section. Even before completely bombing at the box office, it felt weirdly unnatural and gave me no idea about its themes when combined with promos of the star Blake Lively with different hairstyles. After seeing it I must admit to being even more confused and rather disappointed that it didn’t really relate to the story other than being awkwardly mentioned once. That kind of is the whole movie’s problem, it just kind of exists after doing everything conventionally and doesn’t showcase anything interesting stylistically.

This film really stumped me in the sense that there really isn’t much good to speak out but also it doesn’t do a poor job either. Lively as the hurt woman on the hunt for vengeance, Stephanie, gives into her role so that you do get her despair and unresolved feelings through the screen. Action scenes involving Stephanie are a mixture of shaky cam and long takes of fight choreography in which Lively and her stunt double perform alright. There’s an appearance by Jude Law as Iain Boyd, a mysterious fight trainer for someone seeking revenge. You’ve seen it before, done both better and worse. Sterling K. Brown also pops in as Serra and he’s gone just as ineffectively.

Director Reed Morano and cinematographer Sean Bobbitt’s work together is slightly above average but nothing that will elevate the bland script. There’s a cool scene with Stephanie diving into freezing cold water but on the other shore there is a nothing-of-a-shot of her walking out of chaos after a bomb goes off with the classic ringing in your ears. Sometimes the score is pretty orchestra movements and sometimes it’s just frustratingly used instead of actual dialogue that would have expanded the characters’ depth. But all in all if you’re going to have a film about a spy and then that spy fails in every aspect of the mission, you’d better have something smarter in your script than changing hairstyles every ten minutes.

Smileys: Nothing stands out

Frowneys: Some issues with premise

Huh, very surprised that I wrote even this much about it.


Blake Lively on a street
Paramount Pictures


How do you know that something is a horror movie? Do you want to know what a horror movie is? Hey, did you know this is a horror movie? Here’s some more horror. Not satisfied yet? Well, it is a horror movie and it is horror. The Turning will make sure that you’ll understand what you’re seeing but not why you’re seeing it. It is absolutely unrelenting with the way it sets up and ends every scene to the point that you need to make sure you’re not watching a fan compilation video on YouTube. Hidden somewhere very deep, there is a perfectly okay haunting film but the script will never go beyond the first 15 minutes when it comes to expanding the story.

If The Turning had had any self-awareness, it would have trusted its kid actors more instead of throwing them into a dumpster fire. Brooklynn Prince as Flora is perfectly good for a weird child in a horror film but nothing she gets to say has any meaning for the story. Finn Wolfhard’s character Miles has about seven different issues going on but you never get to explore them again after they appear for the first time. It also doesn’t help that Wolfhard’s delivery is all just monotone line reading and zero expression. Mackenzie Davis as a governess named Kate spends most of her screen time just panting heavily rather than doing anything interesting.

The panting and the use of ”it was all a dream” starts to get annoying to hear and watch pretty fast. The story and the script is abysmally empty which is what the beginning of this review references. I’m not joking when I say that every scene during the 90-or-something minutes has a horror element: jump scare, loud noise, disturbing imagery or heavy panting. Would it have been so bad to have at least one scene with character work or a proper conversation? And to make matters worse: the ending. It throws out everything you saw in the movie and vanishes it to oblivion. Maybe they ran out of money to continue production or something. After the credits started rolling, I couldn’t for the life of me tell something unique that director Floria Sigismondi did here.

Smileys: Brooklynn Prince

Frowneys: Screenplay, story, ending, Finn Wolfhard

The turning off your screen and going outside to remember all the good times with good movies.


Mackenzie Davis and Brooklynn Prince on stairs
Universal Pictures

After Misery's logo with the text ''all things film & television'' underneath it.
bottom of page