Horror Movie Review: Down a Dark Hall (2018)

Down a Dark Hall is an American-Spanish horror film that is based on the novel of the same name by Lois Duncan. It was directed by Rodrigo Cortés and released via VOD by Summit Entertainment. Also, it’s from the producers of the Twilight Saga. It follows a troubled teen named Kit Gordy. She is forced to join the exclusive Blackwood Boarding School in hope of improving her behaviour. However, she soon finds herself trapped by dark forces around the mysterious headmistress, Madame Duret.

Kit Gordy is a difficult young girl. Her mother and councillor choose to send her to Blackwood Boarding School when her heated temper becomes too much to handle. Once she arrives at Blackwood, Kit encounters the eccentric Madame Duret (Uma Thurman).  The next day, Kit meets the school’s only other students, four young women also headed down a troubled path. While exploring the labyrinth of corridors at the school, Kit and her classmates discover that Blackwood Manor hides an age-old secret rooted in the paranormal.

Down a Dark Hall is a stylish horror film with a wonderfully gothic backdrop. Blackwood is a stunning structure that delivers a feeling of foreboding. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many other positives to highlight. Firstly, I will say that it manages to deliver an atmosphere that could feel creepy for some. However, it fails at providing any genuine scares which is a shame. There are some jump scare moments but they did little for me. It’s not all doom and gloom though. Down a Dark Hall places its focus on the psychological when it comes to horror elements. In that way, it sort of succeeds.

The concept alone may not feel all that original on the surface. Still, as the film progresses it evolves into something unique. There is a major twist but it lacks impact due to an ineffective build. I may not have mentioned it yet but Kit had a father who died when she was young. I give the film credit for managing to make me feel some of the emotional impact of their relationship. This is especially impressive when little time is spent making you feel that invested in them at all. I put it down to the performances of the actors for making me care. On the whole, everyone does a good job here.

Down a Dark Hall isn’t as straightforward as it seems. In fact, it leaves a lot of things unclear. The motivations of certain characters and just general uncertainty surrounding the twist.

Overall, Down a Dark Hall is a fine horror film. It didn’t blow me away but it didn’t upset me either. It’s just different enough that it separates it from similar movies. I likely won’t be re-watching it but that’s not saying that you shouldn’t give it a chance.

Down a Dark Hall
  • The Final Score - 6/10
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