Delinquent teen girls handpicked by a mysterious headmistress. What gives?
Down A Dark Hall
Down a Dark Hall moves through dimly lit hallways to weave an angsty tale not unfamiliarly dealt with in many other titles – in this case, the lack of closure from a father’s death. Sadly, even though the story features five students, we hardly get to hear about their own backstory, and so a large part of the initial investment and set-up turns up phantoms of their own. This makes for a limp middle portion for the film, one that director Rodrigo Cortes may have been struggling with producer Stephanie Meyers (of Twilight fame). Yes, it’s true. She’s still around destroying substance with sappiness.
From the unnecessary romance between lead actress Kit (AnnaSophia Robb) and faculty teacher Jules (Noah Silver), to the overtly grim performances of the supporting cast who takes themselves way too seriously, Meyers’ formula leaks into Down a Dark Hall, warping the entire experience.
The movie’s second part moves into a scarier premise, and has an angle that warrants interest, but because the shallow motivations and adolescent liners flooded the first half, it fails to make the impact we wanted so dearly.
Pity, because there is a good philosophical motivation here from the diabolical Madame Duret (Uma Thurman). She conjures a big ‘what if’ with her feverish reveal, but lacking emotion stake, it doesn’t raise the storm it wishes to be. Down A Dark Hall still has some maturing to go.