Directed by: James Watkins
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer and Ciarán Hinds
Released: February 3, 2012
Based on the book written by Susan Hill
Reviewed by: ISALYS
Last weekend, my husband and I decided to go watch a movie which is a rarity since movies are so crazy expensive these days. I'm über-picky when it comes to movies and there wasn't much that caught my attention except for "The Woman In Black".
This is a horror/thriller so I should preface this by saying that I grew a pair to see it because I am NOT a horror fan. I *hate* blood and guts and gore. I'm not necessarily all that squeamish, I just fail to see the appeal in watching people being dismembered *yuck*. I do, however, have a deeply rooted love for ghost stories. A ghost story set in Edwardian England? I'm there!
In the film we meet Arthur Kipps played by Daniel Radcliffe who's a single father left widowed when his wife died in childbirth. He's a young lawyer who's struggling to care for his son, pay for the nanny and make ends meet. In order to save his job and earn an income, he accepts a case to settle the legal affairs of the recently deceased Alice Drablow who lived in the English countryside on a property known as "Eel Marsh" because of the surrounding marshlands. He quickly realizes that he's not welcome in the town. He ignores the glares he gets and sets about to do his job - alone.
While working inside the old, abandoned mansion he learns that the house is not unoccupied. He begins to hear loud noises and screams, sees the phantoms of the village's deceased children and encounters the fearful "woman in black". Local legend has it that whenever someone sees the "woman in black", one of the local children dies in a tragic accident. While going through old documents, Arthur learns the identity of the "woman in black" and why she goes after the children. Without giving any of the story away, let’s just say that even though he tried to put things to rights, he has reason to be concerned that his young son who he left in London with the nanny is coming to visit him at the end of the week.
As a young actor, it's a bit bizarre seeing Daniel play a widowed father. However, we have to consider that people married considerably younger then than they do now. A friend asked me if it was weird seeing Daniel play a character other than Harry Potter and my answer was, "not at all." I think he did a stellar job and it was refreshing to see him play a role so different from his previous roles. He really got to flex his acting muscle and show us a bit more of what he's capable of. During the entire film I kept thinking, "this guy is friggin' fearless...I'd be shitting myself all alone in that house." <- Actual thoughts.
The real beauty of this film lies in not only Daniel Radcliff's ability to really carry this film, but in the gothic, haunted beauty of the Edwardian setting & period costumes. While the fear factor of the film primarily involved creepy shadows, loud noises, and trick camera effects, the director did a great job in setting the scenes up for maximum effect. The creepy shadows had me on edge, the loud noises made me jump and those pesky camera tricks made me shriek a time or two!
The film provided a twisted, fascinating, heartbreaking backstory while also giving us the thrills of a good, old-fashioned spookfest with Arthur Kipps' encounters with the "woman in black".