Movie Review Rewind: The Woman In Black (2012)
Words like “scary” and “terrifying” do not accurately describe The Woman in Black. Yet words such as “creepy” or “spooky” would be more appropriate for this old, gothic ghost story that never gets gruesome and never relies on gore and bloodshed which is why the movie was able to get a nice PG-13 rating. Daniel Radcliffe really steps up and takes this story head-on with dedication and believability. With his Harry Potter days behind him, Radcliffe has gone from a boy to a man on-screen. He is very capable of standing on his own two feet. Director James Watkins (Eden Lake) keeps the skies grey and the atmosphere haunting, and all of it sets a perfect mood for an old-fashioned horror film.
Radcliffe plays a young lawyer named Arthur Kipps. He is left caring for his son after his wife passed away giving birth to him. Arthur is sent to a remote village to go through some papers of a deceased woman in her dark, unnerving mansion located in the middle of nowhere. That is never a good sign. The longer Arthur is there, he starts to take notice of those who live in the village. But, more so, how they are suffocated by fear. He knows they know something, but will not dare share that information with an outsider. They don’t even want him there in the first place.
However, nothing captures his attention more than the numerous deaths of children that keeps occurring. With the help of the wealthiest couple in the village (Ciaran Hinds and Janet McTeer), Arthur is exposed to whom the Woman in Black is and why she seeks revenge on every little boy and girl who crosses her path.
The Woman in Black isn’t groundbreaking in any way and there are some parts that start to get tiresome. For example, when the Woman in Black makes any kind of noise. Arthur keeps going up and down the steps in the mansion with a candle and an axe trying to find the cause of it. It leads to nothing and leaves us feeling like this is one big prank.
Watkins does like to use quite a few sound effects to try and make you jump out of your seat. Some of it works and some of it does not. But the movie reserves itself and it is better off for it. The story may be predictable. But, it stays simple and Watkins allows his actors pull you in to this world full of ghosts, death, and a lot of fog. And the sole performance that makes you pay attention and feel engaged the whole way through is Radcliffe. He is a grieving father who loves his son, but finds himself lost without the love of his life. Trust me, by the end of this movie, he will appreciate what he has.
The type of horror fans who cannot get enough of the Saw or Final Destination movies will not find The Woman in Black interesting nor entertaining. It will not feed their appetite for blood and gore. But for those who find films like The Others and The Orphanage suspenseful and chilling then this is the perfect meal for you. The Woman in Black may be old school. But, it sure feels refreshing in this day and age.
“Nature Boy” Brandon Vick is the resident film critic of the SoBros Network, and star of Brandon’s Box Office In Your Mouth. Follow him on Twitter@SirBrandonV and be sure to search #VicksFlicks for all of his latest movie reviews.