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TV remake of the Henry James' classic tale "Turn of the Screw", with changes in location and character names. A live in nanny discovers two children haunted by the spirits and deeds of their former care givers. Written by
My friends have a difficult time stifling their giggles when I mention a quality film version of Henry James's classic "Turn of the Screw" starring Valerie Bertinelli, but she does quite a good job in the title role (a character altered just slightly from the novella to account for her American origins in a British cast and setting) of an altogether excellent film.
Those who have seen the earlier screen treatment of this story, _The Innocents_ (with Deborah Kerr in the Bertinelli role) will enjoy this version for similar reasons, foremost among them the excellent screenplay and eerie atmosphere. The 1995 film adds effective ghostly special effects (chilling but never overdone) to heighten the spookiness, a lush location setting, and increased emphasis on the disturbingly sexual nature of the hauntings. The children may not be as sympathetic as they should be--it's difficult to believe that their natural, unpossessed state is cherubic innocence--but the young actors are convincingly creepy and sly when under the spirits' influence. Altogether the cast is wonderful, with the incomparable Diana Rigg especially effective as the housekeeper who unwillingly comes to recognize that the new governess is _not_ just imagining things. Bertinelli's devotion, fear, and ultimate determination are completely believable, and the final showdown with the evil Peter Quint is haunting indeed--it will take your breath away. This film deserves a place in every ghost story lover's video collection.
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