Wednesday 30 May 2012

Today's Review: The Woman In Black

What's Harry Potter doing here? Phnar phnar. Yes, Daniel Radcliffe is playing someone else, you know, apart from that guy who got all naked in Equus. Here he is as Arthur Kipps, a lawyer who is sent to an eerie house near a small village to sort out a recently deceased woman's affairs. But all is not well. The villagers want him gone, and there seems to be a secret lurking in the old spooky house on an island cut off from the mainland for a large portion of the day. Who'd have thought?

I remember my English teacher talking about the stage play of The Woman In Black, but I've never gotten round to seeing it because I'm unsophisticated like that. But from what I can tell the essence of the whole production is carried over quite nicely to the movie. It's not the normal horror that we've come to know, it focuses mainly on atmosphere menace, with a good handful of jump scares scattered throughout. It takes a little while for the story to get going, but once Kipps is in that house the whole thing gets pretty relentless. It's purely supernatural, and Kipps rarely has a chance to stop for breath after running from one thing before another pops up. It's just a shame that the vast majority is just the woman's face appearing in different places, the movie really would have benefitted from a larger variety of scares.

I must admit Daniel Radcliffe was a little bit of a strange choice. He looks pretty young in this movie, way too young to have a four year old boy at least. Still, he pulls off the role quite well, even though the majority of his acting is comprised of jumping and staring at things with fear filled eyes. He really carries the entire movie though, as the rest of the characters, while quite good, are relatively minor. He does a good job in that respect.

If you're sick of all the gore and hacking and slashing seen in today's horror movies, The Woman In Black is a return to basics. This and The Awakening from a few months back have rekindled my interest in horror. It's not perfect, but it's a very big step in the right direction.

My rating: 4/5

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