Monday, March 12, 2012

The Woman in Black: Movie Review

 

Simple, quiet and creepy harshness to a classic horror.

I went into “The Woman in Black” thinking it was going to be a dramatic thriller along the lines of “Martha Marcy May Marlene” or “Take Shelter”. But it turns out to be a classic horror. Better than a Hollywood horror movie, at least it’s a British indie. Set in the late 1800s in a haunted house, the film thrives on the austere harshness of the small town, the house and its inhabitants.2012

Directed by: James Watkins

Screenplay by: Jane Goldman
Based on the novel by Susan Hill

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe stars as 'Arthur Kipps' in THE WOMAN IN BLACK.
Courtesy of Alliance Films.
We have one main hero, Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), who has to leave his young son and travel on business to take care of the final papers of a deceased woman and her lonely old house. The house is literally haunted with shadows of disquieted ghosts and creepy deaths of young children. The overblown score will tell you when to get scared. Some of which were reasonable startles to have in a movie, but towards the end most thrills were visibly ridiculous.

The only interesting direction the film takes is never having Arthur doubt himself. He knows what he is seeing and he’s going to get to the bottom of it. The reason that character works so well is Daniel Radcliffe. He’s good for the film, and the film is great for him. He has a very quiet demeanor and a very earnest, steadfast approach. This keeps the film simple and gives a power to the actors. One which Radcliffe competently displays.

Everything and everyone in the film is haunted. The title tells us, and prepares us for, one of the illusions, which I thought was good. Most of the other-wordly hallucinations or actions were just to increase the creepiness factor but don’t give any insightful interpretations. But then again, I don’t particularly like horror movies; only when there is an element of reality to the thrill.


Recommended:

The Raven (2012) - Poe's literary roots still shine through the action-influenced detective story.

Take Shelter (2011) - Shelter in the face of insanity versus reality.