Writer: Michael Goldbach, Chris Sparling (Screenplay) Lois Duncan (Novel)
Starring: AnnaSophia Robb, Uma Thurman, Isabelle Fuhrman, Victoria Moroles, Noah Silver, Taylor Russell, Rosie Day
Plot: Kit Gordy, a new student at the exclusive Blackwood Boarding School, confronts the institution’s supernatural occurrences and dark powers of its headmistress.
Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Never Really Gets Started
Story: Down a Dark Hall starts as Katherine ‘Kit’ Gordy (Robb) has been struggling with mental health and with her parents running out of options decide to send her to an exclusive boarding school Blackwood, run by Madame Duret (Thurman). Kit is joined by the other girls, Izzy (Fuhrman), Veronica (Moroles), Ashley (Russell) and Sierra (Day) who are all told they have gifts, which sees the girls excel in different subjects.
When the girls start getting haunted at night, they decide to investigate the history of the school, which leads them down some very dark halls to unlock the secret of Madame Duret.
Thoughts on Down a Dark Hall
Characters – Katherine Gordy is a troubled teenager, blamed for a lot of what happens in her life, dealing with the loss of her father, sent to the boarding school, she starts to show her talent for music and challenge just why the girls have been selected. Madame Duret has welcomed the girls into the boarding school, she keeps strict rules and it becomes clear that she has plans for them all. Izzy is one of the girls that shows her gifts the quickest, this is what draws the attention of the rest of the girls that can see what is happening to her. Veronica is the bully like figure of the five girls, she uses her tough attitude to cover her own problems in her life.
Performances – AnnaSophia Robb in the leading role does a solid enough job, we could see more development from her character, but she does all she can with her role. Uma Thurman isn’t the most convincing as the Madame, while most of the fellow girl performances are just the basic through the film.
Story – The story follows five girls sent to a boarding school only for not everything to be as it seems and they must unlock the truth before the evil within the walls comes for them. The story never really gets started if we are honest because we focus on the so called gifts the girls are showing, which they never had before getting to the school, should be more interesting, only it just felt rushed. The scares don’t come fast enough for what is meant to be happening and when they do it is just too dark to see anything happening. The story has an outline which had potential, only it ends up falling flat on its face trying to rush everything instead of slowly building to show just how successful the previous ideas have been.
Fantasy/Horror – The fantasy horror in the film becomes one when we get to follow the ideas to why the girls have become gifted suddenly, only the horror is just darkness, loud noise, something appears on screen.
Settings – The film is set inside the one location, the boarding school which does work for the film, because it keeps the girls away from the world for just what is planned for them.
Special Effects – The effects are pretty weak too here, as we just get the usual background CGI we can see a mile off.
Final Thoughts – This is a movie that has potential in its story, it ends up becoming messy though and just bland because it never gets started.
Overall: Basic horror.