ⓘ Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (2019 film)

                                     

ⓘ Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (2019 film)

Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase is a 2019 American teen mystery comedy film directed by Katt Shea with a screenplay by Nina Fiore and John Herrera, based on the book of the same name by Carolyn Keene which was earlier adapted for a 1939 film. The film, produced by A Very Good Production and Red 56 and distribued by Warner Bros. Pictures, stars Sophia Lillis in the role of Nancy Drew, as she investigates a haunted house. It also stars Zoe Renee, Mackenzie Graham, Laura Slade Wiggins, Sam Trammell, and Linda Lavin in supporting roles.

Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase was released in the United States on March 15, 2019, by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film received favourable reviews from critics, with praise for Lillis performance and humor, but criticized its muddled plot and inconsistent tone.

                                     

1. Plot

After her mothers death, 16-year-old sleuth Nancy Drew and her father Carson relocate from Chicago to rural River Heights. While Nancy struggles to fit in, Carson is active in local politics, fighting the development of a train line through the town. A local thug named Willie Wharton threatens Nancy one night to try to scare her father into backing down.

While performing community service as punishment for a prank on a school bully, Nancy meets Flora, an elderly woman needing help with an apparent haunting in her home. Excited by the mystery, Nancy stays overnight at Floras home, along with Floras niece Helen. That night, strange things begin to happen, with lights going out and then exploding, cabinet doors and drawers opening, and a cloaked figure appearing and warning Nancy to give up her mystery.

The next day, Nancy believes that someone broke in and tried scaring them out. Nancy and Helen investigate, and they find a secret passage that leads outside, revealing how the "ghost" entered the house. The secret passage also contains props the intruder used to simulate a haunting, such as a rigged fuse box to manipulate the lights in the house. The rest of the strange phenomenon is explained by a rig that emits concentrated nutmeg through the houses air conditioning, which triggers hallucinations.

Later, Nancy realizes her father, who is staying out of town on a business trip, has not checked in with her or her aunt Hannah recently. She calls her fathers friend Nate, who tells her that Carsons meeting is at a campsite and reception must be spotty. Nancy is not convinced, as Carson had told her he would be staying at a hotel.

Worried that something has happened to him, Nancy and Helen head to Carsons hotel. They discover that he never checked out, and his cell phone is still in his room. Security footage from the previous night reveals Carson was ambushed and kidnapped by Wharton. Nancys friends Bess and George find out that Wharton is also the man who bought the nutmeg used at Floras house, and Nancy realizes Carson is being kept in the secret passage there. She and Helen head to Floras house, where they shockingly discover Wharton and Nate holding Carson and Flora hostage. It is revealed that Wharton and Nate were working together to sabotage the anti-train movement all along, and that their scheme was meant to force Flora to sell her house so the line could be built through her property. However, to their great misfortune, Nancy had gotten involved, and had assured Flora that her property was not haunted, and that she had no absolute need to sell it. As such, they had been forced to use other means to get hold of the land the kidnapping. Nancy and Helen work together to save Carson and Flora from their captors, who are then arrested by the police.

The next day at school, Nancy, George, and Bess welcome Helen into their circle of friends, and together they plan their next adventure at the Lilac Inn.

                                     

2. Cast

  • Laura Slade Wiggins as Helen Corning
  • Andrew Matthew Welch as Deputy Patrick
  • Andrea Anders as Hannah Gruen
  • Jon Briddell as Nate
  • Mackenzie Graham as Bess Marvin
  • Evan Castelloe as Derek
  • Zoe Renee as George Fayne
  • Josh Daugherty as Mr. Barnes
  • Linda Lavin as Flora
  • Sam Trammell as Carson Drew
  • Sophia Lillis as Nancy Drew
  • Jay DeVon Johnson as Sheriff Marchbanks
  • Jesse C. Boyd as Willie Wharton
                                     

3. Production

Development

On April 20, 2018, it was reported that Sophia Lillis would star in the film adaptation of Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase, which would be produced by Ellen DeGeneres, Jeff Kleeman, and Chip Diggins for Warner Bros. Pictures.

Casting

In June 2018, other cast was announced which included Zoe Renee as George, Mackenzie Graham as Bess, Laura Slade Wiggins as Helen, Sam Trammell as Carson, Linda Lavin as Flora, and Andrea Anders as Hannah, along with Jay DeVon Johnson, Andrew Matthew Welch, Jon Briddell, Josh Daugherty, Evan Castelloe, and Jesse C. Boyd.

Filming

Principal photography on the film took place in June 2018 in Monroe, Georgia.

Marketing

On January 18, 2019, DeGeneres announced exclusively that the film would be released in theaters on March 15; she also debuted a trailer. On February 19, 2019, Warner Bros. Pictures released a short clip from the film.

                                     

4. Response

Box office

Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase grossed $197.892 with home video sales.

Critical reception

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 67% based on 24 reviews, with an average rating of 5.96/10. On Metacritic, the film has a score of 55 out of 100 based on 10 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".