May 29, 2012

Movie Review: The Woman in Black

I recently saw the Daniel Radcliffe movie The Woman in Black, which is based on the book. It was an interesting and entertaining movie, but to be honest it was not as scary as I was expecting. My wife thoroughly disagrees with my assessment, even though it was her idea to watch the movie (as it is her idea to watch most of the scary movies I see, and then refuse to go to bed afterward).

It was refreshing to see Radcliffe in a movie that did not involve him wearing round glasses and a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead. He plays a much older and more mature character than in the Harry Potter movies, a father who is also a London attorney. In the vein of a true creepy ghost movie, the tone is dark and mysterious.

I wasn't expecting too much from the movie, not because I thought it wasn't going to be very good, but because I somehow escaped the marketing campaign for The Woman in Black. I really didn't know much about the plot of the movie, just that it was British and it was supposed to be about a haunted house.Without ruining anything, The Woman in Black tells the story about a young attorney who is sent to a remote part of England to settle a deceased woman's estate. He is tasked with going through all of the paperwork in the house to ensure the lady did not leave an updated will in the house. So what's the catch? The house is located on an island, with a single road leading to it. Each time the tide rises, the pathway is underwater, leaving the house completely cut off from the mainland. To make matters worse, the house is haunted by a woman's vengeful spirit bent on revenge for wrongs done to her in this life.

I can say The Woman in black is genuinely creepy. The movie features some of the scariest toys ever made, including dolls that looked possessed and toy monkeys I would personally burn before putting in my house. The plot takes some twists and turns that are a little unexpected, which kept me engaged even though I could see the end coming from far away. Instead of going for a lot of the current horror movie cliches, The Woman in Black offers a different flavor that is refreshing and unique, without being so out there viewers cannot relate to it. Daniel Radcliffe shows off his acting chops by giving an excellent performance that does not show even a glimmer of the Harry Potter character he played so well. The other cast members play their roles very convincingly as well. Along with the excellent cinematography, period dress and props (including a beautifully restored Rolls Royce Silver Ghost) I was immersed in the world the movie had created.

Would I recommend The Woman in Black? Absolutely. It was well worth the time and a rental.

***Spoiler Alert**** 

I wanted to say something about the end of the movie. The ending theme of the destructive power of not forgiving, even beyond the grave, was a nice touch. It gave me something to think about long after the end credits rolled. I saw the ending coming from afar since it kind of reminded me of The Ring. The Woman in Black is definitely a superior movie that does not have all of the huge holes The Ring has, but I could tell Radcliffe's character and his boy were going to die in the end.

***End of Spoiler***

Here is the trailer for the movie, in case you want to get a taste for what it is like:


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I watched it this past weekend and agree with your assessment. Not horribly original but very creepy. (And I think my wife spent half the movie with her eyes closed.) Thought it was a very good role for Radcliffe as well.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I haven't watched it, but I read the book last year - before I knew they were making the film, it was just one of those books I thought I should read. It was just as scary - but I think they changed the ending of the film.

Connie Keller said...

I keep going back and forth on watching this movie. I really want to watch it as I love movies where the tension is all about atmosphere, etc., but will it be too scary for me...

Okay, I think I'm going to watch it. :)

DL Hammons said...

I liked the movie, but the problem with was that all of the scariest elements were in the marketing campaign, which spoiled the fright factor for me. :)

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I enjoyed the movie, but I thought it could have used some serious editing. They could have taken about 20 minutes out of the middle and had a scarier film -- because there are only so many times you can walk me into a room and scare me with a toy, a bird, or a rocker. After awhile, it loses its effect. I'm waving my hand, saying, "Okay, I got it. The house is scary. Move on ..."

Steven said...

Alex, yes it was nice to see Radcliffe in a different role. Hopefully we will see more of him in the future.

Annalisa, I totally believe that the book has a different ending. The movie's ending was too Hollywoodesque for my tastes. Maybe I will read the book in the near future.

Connie, the movie really does have great scary atmosphere. Definitely worth watching.

DL, the movie wasn't spoiled for me as I never saw really any commercials for it. I hate it when the trailers and commercials have all the good parts in them.

Dianne, maybe they could have edited the movie better. Personally the scary toys creeped me out big time. The rocker, bird, etc not so much, though...