Arriving at a time when the once-popular Nancy Drew books carry minuscule cultural currency beyond nostalgic boomers, Katt Shea’s Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase nonetheless has the potential to appeal to those dormant fans as well as contemporary plucky tweens.
Competently made and always in motion, the adaptation smartly casts Sophia Lillis as the teen sleuth and sticks her in the middle of a haunted house conundrum — a predicament somewhere between the heightened perils the actress faced in It and HBO’s “Sharp Objects.”
The captivating redhead continues to be a beacon in mediocre projects, elevating the film’s passable writing through her bubbly personality and momentarily making viewers forget about transparent villains and groan-inducing attempts at humor.
Corniness and predictability aside, Hidden Staircase succeeds at its goals of playing to its intended audience, and while it’s likely to go the way of Emma Roberts’ likable Nancy Drew (2007) and fail to produce a sequel, its disposable fun and noncloying promotion of friendship and familial unity are a welcome change of pace.
Starts March 15