Movie Review: 'Down a Dark Hall' (2018)

“Down a Dark Hall” boasts an intriguing premise. It centers on a rebellious teen, who is sent to a boarding school to help correct her life path. Soon after arriving at the ominous school -- Kit (AnnaSophia Robb) is joined by several other reportedly troubled girls. Before long, they all begin to flourish under their intense headmistress' guidance.

The students begin to experience an astonishing and rapid improvement in certain subjects. All signs indicate a meteoric rise. The results are clearly too good to be true, leading to the question of what exactly is at work here.

“Down a Dark Hall” takes its time before providing that answer, despite the reason being rather apparent. Its obviousness does make the lack of a definitive explanation, somewhat bearable.

Once the truth is out, the movie struggles with where to head next. All of which leads to a series of hazy scenes that comprise the film's crescendo.

A supernatural thriller, the pacing does not allow for a lot of intense build-up or character development. Everyone is thrown together without digging much deeper. The bond between the girls is another casualty of the movie's fragmented focus.

Add to all of this, the excessive use of dim light to visually accompany the story's darkening plot, and it only serves to frustrate further. Like scenes out of "Ozark," it makes it tough to see what is going on.

“Down a Dark Hall” has a good cast at its disposal. However, it never fully realizes the opportunity having them yields.

“Poldark” and costume drama fans, in general, will undoubtedly relish the chance to see several familiar faces playing roles in the present day. Sadly, they are not given a lot of material to work with. News that is incredibly disappointing to report.

The movie’s star, AnnaSophia Robb, gives a strong performance as its anti-heroine, Kit. The script makes her hard to tremendously empathize with though, an aspect that accordingly overshadows the character's impact.

Another installment in the once-thriving boarding school subgenre, “Down a Dark Hall,” makes the unfortunate choice to include an inappropriate relationship between a teacher and student.

As far as its fright factor goes, “Down a Dark Hall” does little to deliver on hair-raising scares without relying on those of the jump variety to do so.

In another move, a repeatedly-seen entity's sinister presence is never fully explained. An issue that leaves the impression there are some threads missing as the ending unravels. While the opening act lets in a lot of light, the second half casts it into darkness.

Rating: 5/10

[Featured Image by Summit Entertainment]