Movie Review: 'Down A Dark Hall' old school horror zhooshed up!

By Siyabonga Mchunu - 17 August 2018Views : 910

Cast: AnnaSophia Robb, Isabelle Fuhrman, Victoria Moroles, Noah Silver, Taylor Russell, Rosie Day, Uma Thurman

Director: Rodrigo Cortes

Age restriction: 16HLV

Running Time: 96 minutes

A difficult young girl, Kit, gets selected to go to the secluded and mysterious Blackwood Boarding School, after having one too many run-ins with law enforcement. The school boasts a proud history of being able to help troubled young girls find themselves and their talents.

On arrival, Kit discovers that she will be one of only five students at the school. Their curriculum consists of art classes, literature and music. And soon, each girl starts to discover a hidden artistic talent she had no idea she possessed.

And just as you get comfortable and wonder just what is wrong with the school, the horror begins.

This review will contain no spoilers, so unless you've read the book by Lois Duncan, the story should come as a welcome surprise and addition to the horror movie genre. There are scares and frights aplenty, but there is something comforting about the way this movie is shot that you enjoy the horror and the scares, which I've found to be missing from many horror movies over the last few years.

Full disclosure: I was a huge Lois Duncan fan as a teenager. I thought I'd read all her books but turns out I missed Down a Dark Hall. As an avid fan of her books, I always found the movie adaptations of her books to be somewhat lacking, think I Know What You Did Last Summer and Killing Mr Griffin. But the writer of this movie understood what makes Lois Duncan's books so great and gives a wonderful movie adaptation of a book that I am now very keen to read.

Uma Thurman is scary as Madame Duret. I think my one criticism would be that not all the girls who are part of the story are given enough space to get to know them. With the exception of Kit, played by AnnaSophia Robb and Veronica, played by Victoria Moroles, the other girls just become peripheral characters when they could have been more which I think might have added to the horror experience of the movie.

If you enjoy horror movies that have that bit old-school style, then you'll enjoy Down A Dark Hall as much as a young adult.

But, adult or young adult, I highly recommend going to your nearest library and checking out 'Locked in time', 'Stranger with my face' and 'Don't Look Behind You'.

I don't believe these have been made into movies just yet, so read it to experience the thrill, fear, horror, excitement and thorough enjoyment of reading a Lois Duncan thriller!