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It's a criminal gang in the making, but strangely they are the only students at the school. Headmistress Madame Duret Uma Thurman speaks quietly yet firmly, with an accent that I couldn't quite place. Is she from Germany?

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No matter. She is an other of indefinite origin, in a position of respect, and that's not the point anyway. She makes it clear to the girls that she knows all about their criminal activities but none of that matters to her. The school offers only four essential subjects art, literature, mathematics and music for study, each taught by a different instructor. Amazingly, each young woman begins to flower in a different subject and the atmosphere at and around the school becomes slightly more inviting and the perpetually dark halls -- due to something beyond control, ahem -- brighter.

Yet, all the while, Kit has been seeing something in the shadows at night, and rest assured that the school will not remain a comfortable environment for learning. It's very much a bumpy, uneven journey. His newest feature is certainly compelling to watch; as with Buried , he constantly presents the drama from unexpected angles.

With a large mansion-style boarding school to play in, he has far more room for swirling camera movements; director of photography Jarin Blaschke The Witch works elegantly with the conceit of underlit backgrounds, and finds drama without creating it unnecessarily. With those positives in mind, what can explain the underwhelming nature of the film as a whole? Perhaps it's that some of the performances are much stronger than others, while the dialogue struggles to maintain a consistent tone.

Adapted by Michael Goldblach and Chris Sparling Buried from a novel by Lois Duncan I Know What You Did Last Summer , which was aimed at young adults and first published in , the story proceeds in a deliberate path that often turns against expectations. Skip to Content. Get age-based picks. Promotes teamwork and honesty.

Down a Dark Hall () - Rotten Tomatoes

Encourages strong parent-teen bonds and sharing truths, no matter how uncomfortable they are to discuss. Kit is inquisitive, sensitive. She's brave enough to look into creepier aspects of boarding school and stand up to school authorities. Despite her abrasive demeanor, Veronica is courageous, selfless when she and Kit are about to be caught.

Jules and even Professor Sinclair attempt to help the girls -- but not until the end. Kit's mother, stepfather rush to her rescue. High body count.

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One suicide. Several people die in a fire, and one person is shown burning to death. Someone is crushed to death.

Young women seem to be possessed and act like they're out of control of their bodies. A character slaps and slaps another character to revive her. An older woman pushes and hurts students to discipline them. Fights between the girls are broken up. The students are all attracted to Jules one girl says "I have a boner" after he plays the piano ; he and Kit nearly kiss but are interrupted. The book isn't as widely read now as it was a few decades ago, but the movie should still appeal to fans of scary stories and boarding school tales.

Romance is limited to a near-kiss and flirting, so it's really the supernatural violence that's most disturbing.

Messages center on teamwork and honesty. Add your rating See all 2 parent reviews. Add your rating See all 3 kid reviews. Kit is surprised to find out that only four other young women Veronica, Izzy, Ashley, and Sierra are enrolled at the school, which is housed in a large, dark mansion with a restricted wing the students aren't allowed to enter. The young women are taught arithmetic, literature, art, and music.

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Kit can play entire concertos on the piano, whereas before she could barely play scales. Izzy Isabelle Fuhrman can solve complicated calculus problems, Sierra Rosie Day can paint like a 19th-century master, and Ashley Taylor Russell can write epic poems overnight. But there's something creepy going on at Blackwood, and Kit begins to suspect that there are sinister reasons she and her classmates are exhibiting extraordinary abilities. This supernatural thriller is just campy and creepy enough to entertain young teens who are interested in ghost stories.

Robb and the other young actresses, particularly Moroles as angry Veronica, Russell as Ashley the suddenly unstoppable poet, and Fuhrman as blossoming mathematician Izzy, do a fine job conveying how off-putting the school's eerieness is -- especially in the dark. The frights are surprisingly real in a few scenes, even though the ending is somewhat more tragic -- and less satisfying -- than audiences may be used to in the genre. Families can talk about the violence in Down a Dark Hall.

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Does the fact that much of the violence is aimed at teen girls affect the impact of the violence? What's the appeal of gothic horror movies? Why do people like to be scared? Who, if anyone, is a role model in the movie? How do they exhibit teamwork? Do movies need to have role models to be entertaining or worth watching?

Down A Dark Hall

The original book was published in , before cell phones and the internet made constant communication between teens and parents easy. Add to lists.

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Distributed by Lionsgate. Frank Scheck: The Hollywood Reporter. The greatest mystery of 'Down a Dark Hall' is who exactly this boarding school gothic is intended to reach. Dennis Harvey: Variety. Tatiana Craine: Village Voice. Peter Martin: Screen Anarchy.

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The same goes for the plot".