Director Floria Sigismondi’s The Turning is a haunted-house thriller based on a mysterious estate in the Maine countryside. The movie produced by DreamWorks Pictures and Reliance Entertainment, is based on Henry James’ landmark novella The Turn of the Screw, and stars Mackenzie Davis (Terminator: Dark Fate), Finn Wolfhard (Netflix’s Stranger Things), Brooklynn Prince (The Florida Project), and Joely Richardson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). The visual effects of the movie done by Mill Film lead by VFX supervisor Aymeric Perceval.
When the director approached for the VFX work to the Mill Film “We jumped at the chance to work with Floria; she’s got a terrific aesthetic and we strove to support that with highly stylized hero VFX,” explains Mill Film’s global managing director Lauren McCallum.
For Mill Film, the VFX work was centred around creating the horror sequences. This includes the dark secrets that both the children in the film and the house harbour throughout the film. The VFX team brought to life the ghosts of Peter Quint and Miss Jessel to haunt the Maine estate and its residents, along with the addition of seamless VFX work to Sigismondi’s evocative and atmospheric project.
The Mill Film team worked closely with the editing department to explore how the project could incorporate director’s intention and artistry through VFX across the choices made in pre-production. “Working closely with Floria on this project was a real thrill. She is a creative powerhouse with a brilliant sense of shot design, able to treat each shot like a haunted piece of art. It was great to partner with her and execute her vision,” explains Perceval.
Mill Film under Technicolor umbrella has shown their VFX artistry with their well-blended shots and invisible detailed work. The craftsmanship of Mill Film was noticeable when the ghosts of Jessel and Quint are conjured on-screen. Perceval continues: “Jessel is like a light being scattered in the night mist, and we had to carefully balance how much we revealed of the contortions and performance [by acclaimed dancer Denna Thomsen] through the multiple layers of ethereal elements. Quint, to the contrary, is all about the darkness within the darkness and had to feel eerie and just solid enough to strangle you. It was a wonderful challenge to work on because, from a creative’s perspective, you need those choices to be clear, but as a viewer you just want it to move you.”
100 moody shots and compositing work completed by the Mill Film crew deliver a sense of entrapment for both the characters and the viewer alike.