Directed by: James Watkins
Written by: Jane Goldman
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer
Genre: Horror, Mystery & Suspense, Thriller
Colour, 95 Minutes
As one of this year’s earliest actual ‘2012’ film release viewings, we have The Woman in Black, a nostalgic piece of cinema under the infamous Hammer studio, were British horror was renowned worldwide. The best thing about this film is how it has an eerie and mysterious charm as if it were one of these films. Consider it a modernised version of a classic Hammer film filled with dark and shadowy CGI. Daniel Radcliffe plays our protagonist and a talented young man he most certainly is.
Set in the early 20th century, the film follows Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) a lawyer who travels to a remote town soon discovers it's problematic and horrific problems as he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorner woman is terrorizing the locals.
This is Daniel Radcliffe’s first performance outside the Potter franchise (a name that will probably stay with him for the next decade) and I must say I was quite impressed. Although he seems quite young for this role, he did an excellent job as the lawyer who travels to a remote village, and soon discovers the secrets of the town. I hope that Radcliffe begins to broaden his acting, as I am sure various roles will be thrown at him. I hope to god that he does not become typecast.
The film has a very dark colour palette and shrouded cinematography that give it a creepy, eerie and rather haunting atmosphere. Especially when you are in the dead-silent cinema and Radcliffe is walking around that house.
The film also offers a very creepy soundtrack that accompanies its eerie visuals. The music is mostly quiet, and when it is, it gives an atmosphere to the scene. However, despite the reasonably nostalgic feeling to the film, it is very flawed with its story. The film is very slow and quiet, just a little too much and I found myself slightly nodding off. The films plot was quite dead and pointless by simply placing our main character Arthur right into the creepy setting and horrific incidents with no real reason. The films twist ending makes it a little more worthwhile watching, and although quite pointless, it was an interesting finale.
However, the films biggest flaw is the length of some of these ‘suspense’ walking around scenes. Radcliffe walks around the creepy haunted house for a somewhat 15 minutes with a big scare making everyone jump very now and again. Furthermore, the film seems quite dead with their being few attachable/likeable characters (all quite lifeless to an extent) and with a minimum amount of action- This is why when we hear loud noises in the film we get so surprised. However, for me the film did not offer much scares, and was not very suspenseful as films like Nosferatu and many of the Hammer films. There was just something quite boring and lifeless about the film.
Verdict: The Woman in Black is certainly creepy to an extent, but it will not offer many scares to the modern day horror fan. You will find yourself quite chilled with the films dark and mysterious atmosphere, but the dead storyline and boringly suspenseful pace may have you nodding off.
Age Certificate: 12a
Based on the novel by Susan Hill
Country: United Kingdom