MONTREAL — Mill Film (www.MillFilm.com) recently teamed up with director Floria Sigismondi to create visual effects for the new film, The Turning. The haunted-house thriller from DreamWorks Pictures and Reliance Entertainment is based on Henry James’ landmark novella "The Turn of the Screw", and stars Mackenzie Davis, Finn Wolfhard, Brooklynn Prince, and Joely Richardson. VFX supervisor Aymeric Perceval led the Mill Film team, whose work included bringing to life the ghosts of Peter Quint and Miss Jessel, which haunt the Maine estate and its residents. The studio also created seamless visuals that worked with Sigismondi’s evocative and atmospheric project.
“We jumped at the chance to work with Floria,” explains Lauren McCallum, Mill Film’s global managing director. “She’s got a terrific aesthetic and we strove to support that with highly stylized hero VFX.”
“Working closely with Floria on this project was a real thrill,” adds Perceval. “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.”
The Mill Film crew worked closely with the editorial team to explore how the project could incorporate the director’s intention and artistry through VFX across the choices made in pre-production. While a lot was invisible work, Mill Film’s craft is most noticeable when the ghosts of Jessel and Quint are conjured on screen.
“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 dancer Denna Thomsen] through the multiple layers of ethereal elements,” Perceval explains. “Quint, to the contrary, is all about darkness within 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.”
The studio completed nearly 100 moody shots, including compositing, helping to deliver a sense of entrapment for both the characters and viewers alike.