Thursday, 27 September 2012

The Woman In Black (2012) - ★★★

Director: James Watkins
Writers: Susan Hill, Jane Goldman
Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer, Roger Allam

When I started watching this film I had a terrible feeling that it would be extremely Hollywood and that Daniel Radcliffe would be a terrible casting choice. This is supposed to be the film that launches him out of the Harry Potter saga and into a career as an all-round good actor. The Woman In Black is a good start. It's a good movie, both scary and intriguing, it had me entertained for the short 90 minutes it was on.

Radcliffe plays Arthur Kipps, a young lawyer who is tasked to sort out the paperwork of a mother that was torn apart by the death of her young son. He has to leave London and stay at the village in which the paperwork lies. The villagers are hostile and warn him to return to London, but persistent Mr. Kipps manages to buy a ride to the old mansion where the death of the boy occurred. He soon learns that he is not alone in the mansion, for the ghost of the mother lingers to terrorize the village and kill the children. Mr. Kipps has to figure out a way to prevent her from killing any more children and save himself.

Radcliffe broke away from Harry Potter in this film, although there were still moments where I couldn't tell the difference between Arthur and Harry. He was convincing and most importantly, he wasn't annoying. These days horror films have the most irritating main characters, which is why Mr. Kipps came as a breath of fresh air (and I actually wanted him to live through it). There were many scenes that made me gasp and laugh, which I did not expect. The village had a Transylvanian feel to it which I liked, and the story (although unoriginal) was thrilling to watch unfurl. The ending to me was a shame, for it left me wondering whether The Woman In Black was going to continue to kill children, or whether she had moved on. If you know the answer please tell me.

This film is a mixture of Stephen King's Rose Red, The Ring and many old English horror stories which blended well, but left an air of predictability. I say it is like Rose Red because of the style in which she haunts the mansion, and I say it's like The Ring because of the way Mr. Kipps must save the children (by reuniting the mother and the child's corpses). This is an entertaining film and I would probably watch it again, if only to see if I missed something important. The Woman In Black is a standard horror film, made better than most are today.

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