Down a Dark Hall

  • 15 Sep - 21 Sep, 2018
  • Farheen Jawaid
  • Reviews

Down A Dark Hall, adapted from a Young Adult novel of the same name from the 70s, is set in modern times about a school for criminally and mentally disturbed. Other than that, is it a school for the gifted, or house of ghosts one wonders? Well it’s both, and surprisingly neither of these points are interesting.

Kit (AnnaSophia Robb) is a troubled youth, who is constantly in trouble. It’s the last straw for Kit’s mother when Kit is accused to have attempted to burn down her school. One day a recruit chooses Kit for an institute where young girls with troublesome tendencies are sent and educated to live a better and beneficial life.

There are only four other girls besides Kit in the boarding school-like institute (which looks like a castle). The school is run by a French headmistress Madame Duret (Uma Thurman), who is all smiles and steely resolve. Her agenda is to make these girls excel in their hidden talents.

Over time every girl, beside Veronica, the bully (Victoria Moroles), shows promise in the field of math, music, painting and literature. While they show promise in their studies, they see something dark lurking in the shadows and have restless nights filled with nightmares.

Director Rodrigo Cortés (Buried) echoes of The Shining, however Down A Dark Hall is tepid as a horror movie, and apathetic as a psychological drama. The only thing that stand out is the sound effects, because they are the only elements that propel horror. The rest is young adult fodder of friendship, teenage angst and a crush. However, these aspects are all dusted under the carpet by the climax.

A word for the wise, then. A horror that does not frighten or disturbs, is a horror not worth mentioning. •