Oct 302018

Down a Dark Hall had some potential ruined by poor casting of Uma Thurman, or at least having her put on a French accent, and an inane finale and revealed twist.



Down a Dark Hall

Genre(s): Suspense/Thriller, Supernatural
Lionsgate | PG13 – 96 min. – $21.99 | October 16, 2018

Date Published: 10/30/2018 | Author: The Movieman

Directed by: Rodrigo Cortes
Writer(s): Lois Duncan (novel); Mike Goldbach and Chris Sparling (screenplay)
Cast: AnnaSophia Robb, Isabelle Fuhrman, Victoria Moroles, Noah Silver, Taylor Russell, Rosie Day, Uma Thurman
Features: Featurette, Deleted Scene
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.39
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 34.5 GB
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

Lionsgate provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

THE MOVIE — 2.75/5

Plot Synpsis: Kit (ANNASOPHIA ROBB), a difficult young girl, is sent to the mysterious Blackwood Boarding School when her heated temper becomes too much for her mother to handle. Once she arrives at Blackwood, Kit encounters eccentric headmistress Madame Duret (UMA THURMAN) and meets the school’s only other students — Veronica (VICTORIA MOROLES), Izzy (ISABELLE FUHRMAN), Ashley (TAYLOR RUSSELL) and Sierra (ROSIE DAY) — four young women also headed down a troubled path. While exploring the labyrinthine corridors of the school, Kit and her classmates discover that Blackwood Manor hides an age-old secret rooted in the paranormal. Soon enough, every one of them begin to change.

Quick Hit Review: My initial thoughts on Down a Dark Hall that it was flawed but still entertainingly watchable. But the more I thought about it, the negatives vastly outweighed anything positive. On the latter, the movie does feature some nice and mysterious atmosphere, easily done with any rundown mansion, one which has closed off areas, a glitch-filled electrical system and a headmistress who isn’t trustworthy to say the least. I also liked the young actress AnnaSophia Robb’s performance, not bad considering the script. The other young actresses, for the most part, also held their own, led by Victoria Moroles.

On the negative side, and I can’t describe it without getting into SPOILERS so be warned, there are a couple of serious issues:

  • For one, Uma Thurman, a fine actress whose career has floundered in recent years appearing in the terrible crime-comedy The Con is On and has what is sure to be comedy gold with The War with Grandpa, plays the headmistress who is French, so she puts on what sounds like a comedically bad French accent. I’m sure the novel this movie is based on might’ve been French but the filmmakers had two options: cast an actual French woman with who knows English or two… just have Thurman speak naturally.
  • The second, and easily the biggest, is the actual plot and twist. The twist is Madame Duret is a conduit to the paranormal and the spirits, who all had talents and died too young, have come back and are using the girls as vessels (or “instruments” as described). This does not make a lick of sense for a variety of reasons like why these girls in particular were picked; why it had to be girls especially since those who died and possess them are men; and last, there’s no rhyme or reason how which girl is possessed with certain abilities (like being a master pianist, math genius, and painter while the tough one was there to be… well… tough, I guess.
  • Next, there are “weird” scenes that happen throughout, visions from within the paranormal realm I suppose such as the hallway collapsing or bats flying through a window. While it certainly keeps one’s interest, it does not make a lick of sense. My only assumption is the spirits were attempting to wear down Kit so she might be easier to possess. I honestly don’t know.
  • The cinematography was a bit dark. No surprise considering the title, but at times it was so dark my old eyes had to squint just to make out what the hell was going on, such as the aforementioned hallway collapse (or w/e it was). I’m all for atmosphere and setting up a disturbing motif, but they could’ve done more to brighten it up.
  • Last, the third act just fell apart. Along with the lame twists, it falls into utter stupidity with what should’ve been creepy spirits roaming around that was anything but. You have a character’s deceased father, showing up here and there, making one more appearance helping his daughter make way out of the mansion now on fire. Even the pair’s final scene, which should’ve been emotional, was never and held very much emotional weight.

Down a Dark Hall, was based on the novel of the same name by Lois Duncan (novelist behind “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Hotel for Dogs”), and helmed by Rodrigo Cortes who previously directed the Ryan Reynolds suspense-drama Buried and the fantasy-drama Red Lights. Having never seen either of those films, I don’t know how talented he is or if this is a case where the source material didn’t translate for cinema, more to the point, I wonder if this would’ve made for a better limited series that could flesh out the supporting characters.



This release comes with a matted slip cover and a redemption code for the Digital HD copy. Features are light with only Welcome to Blackwood: Venturing Down a Dark Hall (20:55) behind-the-scenes featurette and a Deleted Scene (2:25).

PreviewsI Still See You, Kin


VIDEO – 3.75/5

Down a Dark Hall is, as you might suspect, a rather dark looking movie, sometimes to the film’s detriment. Even so, detail wasn’t half bad and during the daylight shots, there was some color, though based upon the costumes and sets, it was kept to a minimum.

AUDIO – 4.25/5

The movie includes a satisfactory and semi-robust DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. Dialogue levels do come through with great clarity while the front and rear channels are mostly relegated for ambient noises (such as creeks in the old mansion) but do come to life during the “paranormal realm” sequences, showcasing good depth to an otherwise low key soundtrack.


OVERALL – 2.5/5

Overall, Down a Dark Hall had some potential ruined by poor casting of Uma Thurman, or at least having her put on a French accent, and an inane finale and revealed twist. On the plus side, AnnaSophia Robb put on a good performance and the atmosphere early on was well done. The Blu-ray release from Lionsgate offers up good video/audio transfers but the features are lackluster.




Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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