After making an auspicous debut with the claustrophobic Ryan Reynolds thriller Buried, Rodrigo Cortés delivered a wholly disappointing follow-up in the form of Red Lights, a weak alien invasion pic that completely fell apart in its final act. Here’s hoping that the director’s next effort gets him back in our good graces – Lionsgate announced today that it has set Cortés to helm Down a Dark Hall, based on the 1974 YA novel from I Know What You Did Last Summer author Lois Duncan.
The book, which was initially scripted by Michael Goldbach and is now getting a rewrite by Chris Sparling, is a supernatural thriller. It follows a girl named Kit, who begins to attend the exclusive Blackwood Boarding School but is immediately disturbed by a sense of evil that pervades the place. Quickly, she gets drawn into the supernatural happenings inside Blackwood as she is exposed to the darkly seductive powers of Blackwood’s headmistress. And as Kit’s encounters with the dark forces behind the school grow more dangerous, she comes face to face with forces that could either propel her to greatness or utterly destroy her.
Intriguingly, the producers on this project include Twilight author Stephenie Meyer and Meghan Hibbett (via Fickle Fish Films) and Temple Hill Entertainment duo Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen (who worked on Twilight as well as The Fault In Our Stars). The source material, however, is more focused on Gothic horror than any forbidden romance between Kit and her classmates – unless Sparling’s rewrite tweaks the story in that direction, certainly a possibility.
Cortés proved with Buried that he knows full well how to build highly suspenseful and taut atmosphere, and the premise of Down a Dark Hall certainly lends itself to the same nail-biting style of direction. No release date or cast has yet been set for the film, but we’ll be keeping a close eye on it – if just out of interest in its director.