Review: The Woman in Black (2012)
The Woman in Black (12A)
Starring Daniel Radcliffe
Good evening and welcome to Eel Marsh House, where everything is black, covered in cobwebs and small china dolls or monkeys play instruments.
In other words, welcome to shit-your-pants-ville.
First penned in 1983 by Susan Hill, The Woman in Black soon became a roaring success and not long later (1987) it was adapted and performed on stage. Although I’ve never seen the play or read the book, I’ve heard many good things about this classic tale of the genre. Maybe I should turn my hands and fingers to the enthralling novel.
However, no tangents today, this is purely about the woman… dressed in black.
Directed by James Watkins, The Woman in Black begins in very much the same way as Anti-Christ; there is music, there is no dialogue and everything is in semi-slow-motion. Three children sit at a tea party. They are sat with their dolls, laughing and joking, until they see something in the distance. They want to look out the window. All three, with perfect timing, jump from the three windows all lined up very neatly. We hear a woman below, ‘my babies!’ she cries. All three children are dead and we have no idea why they are and what made them do it.
In steps Daniel Radcliffe with no Quidditch robes or a broom in sight. The only remote ties he has to HP here, is that someone or something, wants to get him. And they’re pissed about it.
Arthur (Radcliffe) is on a train to shit-your-pants-ville to visit a shit-your-pants-house in the middle of nowhere, covered in a lot of hanging moss where mangled trees stand guard. Part of his job as an estate agent is to sell Eel Marsh House; a house steeped in mystery which has been deserted for years.
It’s not boding well for HP is it?
Arthur quickly realises that the villagers are not happy with his visit, and some even physically push him back towards the station. But most importantly they do not want him to go near the house. They fear it.
The camera pays its due attention to the children who stare, cry and gasp at his arrival – they know what’s coming too.
As a classic horror, the film builds a slow and steady tension to work up to its climax. It features horror clichés in abundance, portrays symbolism to death and even presents us with a good handful of ‘OMFG’ moments. Both music and sound effects are spot on and immensely help (not hinder) the grand schemes of the woman in black.
But who is the woman in black? Well, you’ll just have to find out for yourself.
I’d avert your eyes before the final image. Just sayin’