'Down A Dark Hall' [Blu-ray+Digital]
(AnnaSophia Robb, Uma Thurman, Isabelle Fuhrman, et al / Blu-ray+Digital / PG-13 / 2018 / Lionsgate Films)
Overview: A troubled teen named Kit Gordy is forced to join the exclusive Blackwood Boarding School, just to find herself trapped by dark forces around its mysterious headmistress, Madame Duret.
Blu-ray Verdict: OK, to give you an immediate heads up into/about this film, 'Down A Dark Hall' focuses on Kit (AnnaSophia Robb) who has an "aggressive mental state." Her father passed when she was nine and she still has issues. She is enrolled in Blackwood, a bad girl's school.
The five female students are expected to develop a talent. One writes poetry, another paints, one excels in math, and Kit plays the piano. Veronica remains true to her anarchy and does not develop a talent. There is a dark hall that is off limits to the students.
The newly found talents become troublesome as the girls feel possessed. They also see ghosts. Kit investigates and does not like what she discovers.
Based on the best-selling novel by Lois Duncan and produced by the author of The Twilight Saga, this spooky young adult thriller has a fairly decent plot and one or two nicely unexpected turns. Sure, well, OK, I wasn't overly thrilled with the acting, dialogue, and cast - for I guess I was expecting more of a 'Craft' cast atmosphere - but they did their best, one and all.
For my money, Veronica needed to be another Fairuza Balk. More resourceful, and less punk. Outside of Kit, they didn't bother to develop the other characters. The cast lacked chemistry therein, but again, it wasn't their fault individually.
Uma Thurman is as subtle as a villain as she's powerful too, dangerous and intelligent, a true manipulator. And boy, does she shine behind make up and costume that almost nearly changes everything we visually know about her.
Indeed, Blackwood made me think, for some reason, of other films by Aronofsky. Man, I wish there were more of these movies today that still respect film making and their audiences.
Anyway, and ultimately, of course, the film falls victim to familiar teen horror cliches: a beautiful lead with a heart of gold, predictable jump scares, a little bit of romance, and, of course, the bad guys!
But Rodrigo Cortés' supernatural mystery is definitely a teen ghost story with good elements enough to entertain. Thus, moody and creepy, 'Down A Dark Hall' is admirable in its effort to achieve many scares. I will watch it again, that's for sure.
Experience the dark powers and supernatural thrills within Blackwood Boarding School when 'Down a Dark Hall' arrives on Blu-ray™ (plus Digital), DVD, and Digital October 16 from Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Welcome To Blackwood: Venturing Down A Dark Hall Featurette