Directed By: Katt Shea
Starring: Sophia Lillis, Zoe Renee, Mackenzie Graham, Andrea Anders, Laura Wiggins, Sam Trammell, Linda Lavin, Andrew Matthew Welch, et. al.
After moving to River Heights from Chicago following her mother’s death, Nancy Drew struggles to fit in. After one of her friends is bullied on-line, her plan to humiliate the culprit goes awry when she’s caught and forced into community service for the rest of the summer. However, she soon meets Flora, an eccentric older woman who claims that her house is haunted. Not one to ignore a mystery, Nancy agrees to look into the haunting for Flora, despite learning that her granddaughter is the girlfriend of the boy who humiliated Nancy’s friend. After experiencing the haunting for herself and finding evidence that a person is behind it, Nancy becomes determined to find out who is harassing Flora and what they want from her.
This version of Nancy Drew is far better than the previous attempt to translate the classic tween novels into a movie. It portrays Nancy as fallible and more human, instead of slightly obnoxious, overachieving perfectionist who’s always right. While it does make some significant changes from the novel (in the books Bess and George are cousins and Hannah is an elderly housekeeper instead of Carson’s sister) the movie is based on, they don’t detract from the story as a whole and shouldn’t bother anyone unless they’re a die-hard fan of the books.
The special effects are decent, and the background filler goes unnoticed.
Just about everyone should enjoy this movie. The story is interesting, and while it certainly won’t win any awards, it’s definitely better than it might seem on first glance. They manage to balance out modernizing the classic series and maintaining the mystery of the original source material. It’s also interesting enough that it shouldn’t grate on repeat viewings.
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase is currently not available free to stream, but it can be rented through Redbox or Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line retailer.