The Woman in Black is the story of Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) a widowed father who goes into a town to handle the estate of a woman named Alice Drablow who has lived in an old manor known to the locals as Eel Marsh House.
To say that he is not greeted friendly is putting it mildly. The townfolk eager to send Kipps back where he came from. When he wants to go to the abandoned house almost everyone tries to change his mind. Children are creepily looking out of windows and the house itself is also very uninviting. Kipps is about to find a terrible secret that the inhabitants don’t dare to talk about…
Back to the roots of horror
This movie is a very classic ghost story – as I understand it the story has been written in 1983 – and feels very atmospheric due to the early 20h century setting. It has the classical conflict of rationalism and spiritualism and delivers a lot of chilling scares.
As a big horror fan the old narrative style was a breath of fresh air – talk about a hypocrisy.
There are elements a seasoned horror fan recognizes yet the story keeps you guessing if the cliché will happen or something unexpected. Is the door really closed? Is there someone standing in the mirror?
A lot of times the movie follows the example of movies like The Shining where there is no audible sign that something is strange. Slowly something appears in the corner without a sound and it takes us a few seconds to see it. This effect can be sometimes scarier than the worst jump scare.
Horrible cinema experience
Daniel Radcliffe does a fine job in this movie. Sure, we never for once see him as a widower with a son but apart from that he shows that he has great talent that does not rely on the Harry Potter brand. I hope to see more movie starring him and I guess it was a wise career move to have this movie after the last Potter movie.
Because of his brandname The Woman in Black has had a very profitable boxoffice run and probably draws a bigger crowd than it would have with a nameless actor as the lead.
Sadly this also leads to overstuffed multiplexes and constant Harry Potter jokes. After the 50th “watch out Voldemort is behind you Harry” it is no longer funny and this movie was easily my worst cinema experience just from the comments, talking and wannabe-funny comments during the film.
Yet the fact that I still got the chills despite urging myself not to start a fight speaks for the strength of this movie.
Try watching the movie in a few weeks when the biggest onslaught is over or watch it in a small cinema. The Woman in Black is well made popcorn scare and except the last 3 seconds it never feels cheap.