A rebellious girl who has bad school results is enrolled by her parents in the private Blackwood private school, a female college in an old mansion run by the elegant Madame Duret. The girl will discover that only four other students are enrolled in the Institute and are equally unruly and in need of a last chance. The young people develop surprising abilities in different disciplines, those of mathematics, those of painting, those of poetry and those of music, revealing to be true prodigies. But something sinister creeps into the building and the girls are increasingly troubled by strange visions, which will get worse when the principal orders them to release their talents and stop taking the psychotropic drugs that until now had calmed their most self-destructive and destructive impulses .
From the 1974 novel of the same name by Lois Duncan, the director of Buried – Buried Rodrigo Cortés draws a ghost story for the young adult audience, a gothic film that hangs out with the teen drama but slips into excessive captions.
More than subtly sinister the college the situation in which the girls find themselves is clearly improbable as well as the explanation of the mystery turns out rather convoluted, so much so as to require long-winded dialogues to deal with them. A defect that was probably already in the handle, that is in the script and in the novel (in Italy recently published by Mondadori), but that Cortés does not have the lightness or the strength to overcome with images, so much that it will take more than half the duration because Dark Hall arrives at the first horror turn. And when it arrives again it lacks subtlety and fantasy, with a phantasmic world that is too concrete. At the same time the psychological hatching is rather simplistic and instead of working with small upsets, it follows obvious signals, for example the protagonist needs to see the other students show signs of imbalance before realizing that something is wrong with their prodigious musical ability, gushing from nothing .
There are however also good things, on all the originality of the subject that sees in the regret for the genes of the past, prematurely disappeared, the main motive of a supernatural mystery. The progressive possession of the girls is basically an allegory about the dangers of too rigid teaching, which tries to plagiarize the students towards pre-established models, maybe even unattainable or outdated, rather than letting their natural gifts emerge. Furthermore, this look at the great masters introduces cultured elements that are decidedly superior to the average of horror films with teenagers.