Movie Review: "The Woman In Black"

Title: The Woman In Black
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".


  1. Widowed father? Wow. Hard to picture.
    It sounds good but I'm such a chicken.

  2. Yay! I'm so glad you gave this a good review, because I really really want to see it!

    I love Dainel Radcliffe thanks to Harry Potter and I'm excited to see him in something other than Harry Potter. I'm not very good with horror movies either, but I can handle blood/gore, it's the jump scenes that scare me the most. Regardless, I love scary movies and hope to get to see this one this weekend :)

  3. This is the kind of scary movie I like. Not blood, no dismemberment, just screams!

  4. Thanks but, uh, no thanks. Paranormal Activity 1, 2 AND 3 was enough for me. I believe I've filled my scary movie quota for the rest of my life. ;-)

  5. This was an interesting film. I am still having trouble looking down dark hallways! :) Great review.

  6. I adored this movie! Daniel did such a good job in it, but I love most movies Daniel is in (December Boys was a little odd...) This movie had me jumping out of my seat so many times. I had to laugh though when there were some super scary parts (handprint on the window) after those, a good chunk of the theater was racing to the bathroom. Haha

  7. I really want to see this movie. I read the book and it creeped me the hell out. But it was so good. I probably won't see it in theaters. (I'm so jumpy). But I'm going to be checking it out once it's on dvd.

  8. I never watch scary movies anymore, though I loved them as a teen. (go figure). This one, The Woman in Black, might be the exception to my rule. I've seen the movie trailer and an interview with Daniel Radcliffe regarding this movie which has spiked my interest and now your review. Perhaps on dvd, as Jenn said.

  9. I rarely watch scary movies, I still haven't even seen The Shining in its entirety, lol! I'm a chicken-poop! but I adore Radcliffe and really want to see this! Maybe I'll wait until it's on DVD so I can pause it when I need to ;)
    Thanks for a great review!

  10. Glad you enjoyed it. I hope to see it myself. I have read the novella and seen the stage version several times (I can recommend that if it is ever on near you - just two actors do the whole cast of characters - brilliant)

  11. I love thee types of movies too, and I look forward to seeing this one some day! I am wicked excited to see Daniel play a different role. :)

  12. Will be checking it out this Sunday, the book spooked me out... so excited to be spooked by the movie too...

  13. I totally reviewed this earlier this week, and I agree with you! Daniel Radcliffe was awesome in this film and it shows that he can definitely do other roles besides one similar to Harry Potter! Also, I loved the setting and costumes as well! Fantastic! Probably one of the best horror movies I've seen in the last couple of years.

  14. I watched Woman In Black with my mum a couple of days ago, and spent most of the film hiding behind her! Too scary for me! I don't know what it's rated anywhere else, but in the UK it's a 12A. Does anyone else think that 12 year olds are a bit young for this?!

  15. Awesome review! I think I am going to see this tonight. Hubs doesn't want to, but it's my Valentine's date, so I get to choose. ;)

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  17. The acting is superb and the effects are chilling. I was so excited that they gave Daniel Radcliffe a chance to break free of the Harry Potter mold...and boy did he ever deliver. Wonderfully done. I highly recommend it. Caution with children under the age of 13 due to disturbing images and intense creepiness.

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