Kim on the latest DTV must-sees
Rodrigo Cortés’ DOWN A DARK HALL mixes the eeriness of Spanish horror, with an emphasis on whispery sound design and old, dark house art direction, with the teen soap of US Young Adult writing, as Annasophia Robb falls under the spell of diva headmistress Uma Thurman at a school for troubled girls. It’s satisfyingly creepy, with an old-fashioned burn-the-house-down climax, and a predominantly British supporting cast includes Rebecca Front in a change-of-pace role as a scowling thug housekeeper.
James Crow’s all-british HOUSE OF SALEM also has innocents ensnared in a supernatural mystery. A gang of kidnappers — some nasty, some sympathetic — hole up in another old, dark mansion with their slightly psychic child victim. Robed cultists besiege the place, prompting conflict among the wrong-doers, as reluctant gang-member Nancy (Jessica Arterton) defies her nasty stepfather (Les Mills) to protect the kid. It has a nice 1970s Hammer House Of Horror feel.
THE LAST SHARKNADO adds time travel to the mix. Want to see Benjamin Franklin fly his kite in a sharknado? Billy The Kid eaten by a shark? Yes, of course you do — but in a better movie, please. The bad news is that the clumsy, awkward 5-HEADED SHARK ATTACK and the simply dull MEGALODON instantly take up the shit shark-movie slack. The fleeting pleasure of lines like, “Too bad we didn’t bring a pod of trained dolphins with us,” doesn’t make up for blood-frothed oceans of tedium and CG sharks not up to the standard of 1986 computer-game graphics. 6-Headed Shark Attack is already in the can, so there’s no end in sight.