In a Dark Place DVD Review

Leelee Sobieski Heads Cast in Adaptation of Classic Erotic Ghost Tale

The Turn of the Screw, written by Henry James in 1897, is an erotic ghost tale about a nanny’s adjustment to her new job caring for a couple of wealthy orphans in a mansion on a sprawling country estate located in the middle of nowhere. Besides the kids, Miles (Christian Olsen) and Flora (Gabrielle Adam), the only other person around of consequence is Ms. Grose (Tara Fitzgerald), a maid who’s a bit of a cold fish..

Initially, Anna (Leelee Sobieski) expects to make a smooth adjustment to her serene surroundings. But soon, she starts getting hints that all is not as it seems at this idyllic oasis. Gradually, she uncovers a series of increasingly disturbing facts about life at Bly House. For instance, she learns that the previous governess died there under mysterious circumstances.

Next, it comes to light that Miles has been expelled from school for committing an unspeakable infraction. And then, Anna catches glimpses of a couple of ghosts with an ax to grind who are haunting the grounds.

All this tension triggers a reaction in Anna to her own long-suppressed issues, and she finds herself acting as though she’s allergic to clothes. Besides constantly flashing her cleavage and dressing inappropriately in appropriately in front of the children, her misbehavior leads to a steamy lesbian liaison with the suddenly loosened-up Ms. Grose.

In a Dark Place is about the 14th adaptation of the Henry James classic, the best known probably being the 1961 version starring Deborah Kerr. The ostensible excuse for this latest endeavor is to allow Leelee Sobieski announce to the world that she’s more than ready for adult roles.

All grown up Leelee, who took a break from showbiz to attend Brown University, is certainly no longer the innocent child-turned-teen star who we remember from such hits as Jumanji, Deep Impact, Jungle 2 Jungle, Eyes Wide Shut, A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries, Never Been Kissed and Joan of Arc. But given her handling of the material in this eroticized horror flick, it’s clear she’ll have no problem making the transition to more mature themes.

Good (2 stars)

Rated R for nudity, sexuality and disturbing images.

Running time: 95 minutes

Studio: First Look Home Entertainment

DVD Extras: Previews, plus “The Making of” featurette.

Kam Williams is a popular and top NewsBlaze reviewer, our chief critic. Kam gives his unvarnished opinion on movies, DVDs and books, plus many in-depth and revealing celebrity interviews.

Sadly, Lloyd Kam Williams passed away in 2019, leaving behind a huge body of work focused on America’s black entertainment community. We were as sad to hear of his passing as we were overjoyed to have him as part of our team.