Down a Dark Hall

1 h 36 min2018PG-13
Based on Lois Duncan's young adult thriller, story follows Kit Gordy, a new student at Blackwood Boarding School, who must unlock the mysteries of the school's tragic past
Rodrigo Cortés
Uma ThurmanAnnaSophia RobbIsabelle Fuhrman
Science FictionSuspenseDrama
English [CC]
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Supporting actors
Kirsty MitchellVictoria Moroles
Stephenie MeyerWyck GodfreyMarty BowenMeghan HibbettAdrián Guerra
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
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4.1 out of 5 stars

626 global ratings

  1. 53% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 19% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 17% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 7% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 4% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Mark J. HouseReviewed in the United States on August 19, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Classic Style Horror
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This is the type of horror that I still enjoy the most. This is not Jason, Freddy, or Leatherface. This is not a gorefest or another movie that relies on CGI alone. This is the classic big spooky mansion with all the long dark hallways and candlelit rooms. However, the possession scenes are anything but classic. More like Exorcist. Troubled teens, especially girls in this case, still have uses. This school out in the middle of nowhere which resembles something the Addams Family would like feels the need to educate troubled youth. However, the school's teachers have a much more sinister mission in life. One that usually results in death. This movie reminds me of a combination of American Horror Story Coven and 5ive Girls(not a misprint). 5ive Girls is another good movie about a handful of girls that get involved with the occult and stars Ron Perlman, famous for Hellboy and his roles in Blade and many, many more TV shows and movies. All TV shows and movies I just mentioned are very similar and if you like the one, you will like the others. Dark Hall is for gothic, ghost story fans. 5ive Girls is for modern, satanic horror fans. American Horror Story Coven is for modern fans of shows like Charmed. Once again, if you like the one, you will like the others. Dark Hall has good special effects and good sets. Enjoy!
35 people found this helpful
A. JordanReviewed in the United States on August 25, 2018
3.0 out of 5 stars
Deviates from the Book
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Down a Dark Hall was one of the fewer books I read in junior high school that I liked. The target audience for the book were younger teenage girls. The film doesn't deviate from that. In the original book there were only 3 other girls besides Kit. Kit was troubled but she didn't have a criminal past, neither did any of the other girls: one was the daughter of a celebrity that had fallen through the educational cracks due to frequent travel, the other was a girl who had missed too much school because of illness, and another was sent to the school believing she was going to get extra attention she couldn't get elsewhere. The secret office with the records from the other schools was not in a locked dusty part of the house, but merely Madame Duret's office. Jules was the original one who decided to get the girls out after he poured through his mother's records. There was also another person who was working at the school: the cook. In the book, she was the one who got the police and fire crew to return to the school.

The book was never a true horror: minimal gore and only one person died. It was more of a psychological thriller/suspense than anything else. Yes, the plot line is predictable, but it follows the book for the most part. I wish they would have talked about the history of the old house. In the book that's one of the things that foreshadows the eventual destruction of the school. I wish they had also kept with the original characters, and hadn't introduced super catty banter between the girls. Just because they are girls doesn't mean they are going to hate each other right off the bat. That's cliche, and it didn't happen in the book.

It's not a great movie because it wasn't a great book. A film adaptation can only go so far. I think if the production would have kept the script true to the book, they would have had a better film.
18 people found this helpful
E.M. BristolReviewed in the United States on October 29, 2018
4.0 out of 5 stars
"If it's secret and elite, it can't be good."
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That's a line from "The Skulls," a movie about the (allegedly) sinister Yale society that came out years ago but which also applies to "Down a Dark Hall," based on the young adult novel by Lois Duncan, starring AnnaSophia Robb. Though there is little to no sex, drugs and rock-and-roll in "Down a Dark Hall," (unless you count the meds dispensed to the students nightly), the dangers the five only students face are just as great.

When the film opens, AnnaSophia has just been (credibly) accused of arson at her school, and her mother, stepfather, therapist and principal all decide that it's better that she find another place to continue her studies. The only available choice is Blackwood, a private boarding school somewhere in the pristine countryside of What a Great Place for Supernatural Horror, run by elegant, enigmatic headmistress Uma Thurman. Her parents drop her off a day early, so she can get acclimated to wandering around in a Gothic mansion in darkness lit only by candles and dim lights. When the other four girls arrive, Uma majestically informs them that although they are considered hopeless elsewhere, here they will have a chance to shine. A speech that any head of school might make - except as it turns out, Uma has something far more drastic in mind than simply shaping young minds and hearts into future leaders of society.

Because Blackwood is heavy on the fine arts, AnnaSophia resumes her long-abandoned piano lessons with a handsome young tutor (Noah Silver), who is prone to gushing about Mozart and other geniuses who produced amazing music but died oh so young. At first she is hopeless, but amazingly soon begins to acquire a knack - to the point where she starts composing sonatas. Her other classmates develop equally impressive talent in mathematics, painting and poetry, although one does not. Due to the fact that the girls also experience creepy noises, sounds and sights at night, AnnaSophia discovers that the one thing they all have in common - apart from heading down the road to delinquency - is - wait for it - psychic ability! Yes, they are being used by Uma, and their "destinies" may not be all they're hyped up to be, meaning that escape is necessary for their survival.

A lot of the drama takes place in near darkness, making it hard to pinpoint just what horrors are unfolding at the moment, but "Down the Dark Hall" is a decent enough present day adaptation. Though in the book, the girls did not have a history of being antisocial, here they are as just as much risk. A good movie to curl up with on a stormy Halloween night.
5 people found this helpful
Ripley7700Reviewed in the United States on September 30, 2018
3.0 out of 5 stars
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I can see how tween girls would like this movie, but I found it a little bewildering. I still don’t particularly understand what happened. It’s like it’s missing some of the plot (or it couldn’t hold my attention, whichever). The characters were mainly stereotyped or underdeveloped. Uma Thurman was a disappointment for me...I found her French accent grating. Normally in my reviews, I recommend watching every haunted/ghost movie at least once because I’m such a fan of the genre, but this one? Maybe if you’re more into action packed horror rather than the slow burn psychological thrillers.

I also found the love thing between the lead character and her music teacher disturbing. I get that she’s 17 and he’s not much older, but still. This is what we present as “fantasy” to girls and young women? To become romantically involved with their teachers? Great.
One person found this helpful
Gemma CheyneReviewed in the United States on September 16, 2018
4.0 out of 5 stars
Horror Movies for Children
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This is almost up there with Coraline but in a completely different genre. I would never compare it to horror made for an older audience. In this movie horror is used more as a metaphor for the issues of the girls. Uma Thurman manages to be both soft and malignant; Anna Sophia-Robb can't seem to quite get out of the kids' roles just yet, though she has made various attempts. She should take the transition more slowly because she really is wonderful here, and still believable as a teen. She's petite and has a wonderful face. This was a little like a Clive Barker movie in terms of "closure". I have not read the book and I'm not sure this story would ever make a series. You have to kind of pretend you are 12 when you watch it. It is certainly enjoyable though less sophisticated than shows like "Stranger Things". Perhaps because there is only one empathetic adult in it. One of the great things about the Harry Potter series was there were goodies and baddies of all ages. Enjoyed the premise but don't see how it could work more than once.
2 people found this helpful
0056Reviewed in the United States on May 9, 2019
3.0 out of 5 stars
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I bought the movie because I like Uma Thurman and Isabelle Fuhrman. It's obvious someone put some money into this thing, but there are hardly any different locations, so maybe it balances out a little. What they did do was above par for a B movie though. I think the directors probably couldn't believe their luck when they scored Uma Thurman, who brings great acting to an otherwise mish mashed storyline. There's not much to the plot, which also gives it this campy aura. I think the character development can be summed up in the cigarette one of the "teen" characters smokes, as in less than a few minutes. The movie seems to have been made to identify with girls in the 7th grade. Only that demographic might find it somewhat disturbing IMO. Conclusion, it's a mediocre movie that almost fails at what it sets out to do. I wouldn't say awful though. 3 stars.
WicingasReviewed in the United States on October 28, 2018
3.0 out of 5 stars
Another spirit possession story
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Well acted but not that interesting. The private school is in a debilitated mansion with electrical wiring issues. I don't care what they offered, I wouldn't have left my kid behind in such a poorly maintained building. Unbeknownst to them, five kids have been brought to the school to serve as vessels for dead artists, mathematicians, etc. Nothing really scary. As I said, well acted but the story was nothing special. The ending is as old as the horror genre.
2 people found this helpful
alistairvilleReviewed in the United States on February 17, 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
Builds tension to horror over time. Worth it!
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Tension builds in this horror film - which, though supernatural and thus a bit far-fetched, is completely internally coherent. I really enjoyed it, and I think fans of horror who appreciate horror situations not based on blood and gore will also. The ending is a little Götterdämmerung, but very satisfying. So many horror movies have weak endings. This one, not so much at all. The plot is “The Hero’s Journey” - or heroine in this case. This means that our heroine enters a closed environment, develops and interacts, then leaves as a more mature person. If she gets to leave! Set is good - not varied - but appropriate. Costumes are not varied - but also appropriate. Writing was great, acting very good, as in, you never catch any character acting. Art direction appropriate. Music/soundtrack non-intrusive and interesting in the case of the character involved with music. But the best thing is the slow build of horror tension as the movie progresses. This is more a thinking person’s horror movie than a slash and gore horror. Actually, here is no slash and gore. I’d recommend this to people with a love of genuine horror - but not to those who need blood and beheadings. Spoiler - no one gets beheaded in this movie.
One person found this helpful
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