It’s no doubt that Stephanie Meyer broke through the young adult fiction mold with her successful Twilight franchise, regardless of what many have to say about her writing or the quality of the films. Us horror fans, or at least those of the literary kind, can easily identify one of the more old school young adult novelists whose writing came to life on the big screen defining multiple genres in more ways than one: “the queen of teen thrillers” Lois Duncan. In the fantastic world of collaborations that we live in today, we’re getting a combination of both Meyer and Duncan in the film adaptation of Down A Dark Hall. Judging by the recently released trailer, we’ll be getting a more adult product from Meyer and one of the scariest from Duncan.
Down A Dark Hall, originally a novel written by Duncan and published in 1974, is getting the film treatment thanks to Meyer’s production company Fickle Fish Films. If you’re familiar with Duncan’s works you’ll know we have her to thank for I Know What You Did Last Summer (1973) and Summer of Fear (1976). If you’ve read either of the two, you’ll recognize that they are extremely dangerous, but the source for some of our longtime horror favorites. I Know What You Did Last Summer, directed by Jim Gillespie (Joy Ride, Venom), slashed its way across screens in 1997, and Summer of Fear, directed by Wes Craven (Scream, A Nightmare on Elm Street), easily became a cult classic when it appeared on television in 1978.
This modern, gothic piece, directed by Rodrigo Cortes (Buried, Apartment 143), focuses on a troubled youth played by Annasophia Robb (Soul Surfer, The Carrie Diaries) who is sent to an all-girl boarding school run by an interesting headmistress played by, the one and only, Uma Thurman (Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction). When the school seems limited in attendees and abundant in things that go bump in the night, the students including Isabelle Fuhrman (Orphan, The Hunger Games) and Kirsty Mitchell (The Hitman’s Body Guard, Lake Placid 3), find liberty in their advancing artistic abilities, but soon realize there is a lot more to Blackwood Manor than meets the eye. The whole package results in a spooky, dark, and clever take on a classic haunted house tale. Take a look, above!
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This is certainly a story worthy of being taken down from the shelf, dusted off, and brought back to life. The trailer ups the ante on the scares and malevolent mood that the novel details and has the top-notch cast to back it up. In this short preview it seems Down A Dark Hall keeps its vintage, old-fashioned feel, but modernizes it by way of setting, characterization, and visual effects. Though the haunted house theme has been done over so many times before, in both great and disappointing ways, Duncan’s craft is so original and versatile, that this is sure to prove that a true classic never dies.
In the very relevant words of another famous novelist, Emily Bronte, “Any relic of the dead is precious, if they were valued living.” Duncan’s works were certainly valued during her lifetime and continue to entertain audiences by way of horror, dark thrillers, supernatural themes, and mysterious stories.
Oh, and another thing this fantastic world gives us? Modern technology. You will not have to wait long for Down A Dark Hall as it will be released on almost all VOD platforms on August 17th, 2018.