I can’t begin to explain how long I have waited for a decent horror movie to grace the big screen once more. For the past few years we’ve had to endure gore after gore after gore. “Saw”, “Final Destination” (3+), even films like the “Human Centipede” which I don’t even class as horror films. They’re so gory they’re either funny or too disturbing to watch.
Finally, someone has taken note of this. Nothing says horror more than a jumpy Victorian ghost story and this is definitely a horror film. Ghost children, foggy marshes, china dolls and a haunted house. Great combination for a truly scary movie. The movie is adapted from the novel by Susan Hill but what people may not know is it was originally adapted for the stage. I’m actually lucky enough to have seen this play on a school trip in London and it terrified me.
“The Woman in Black” is about a solicitor called Arthur Kipps (played by Daniel Radcliff) who goes to a small village by the coast to sort out the papers of Alice Drablow, a widow who had died a few months ago. Arthur must go as he needs to support his young son whose mother passed away during childbirth. Upon reaching the village he immediately gets the impression he’s not welcome and is almost forced to leave by the villagers. Arthur ignores their warnings and goes to Alice’s home, Eel Marsh House out in the marsh. Whilst at the house he encounters some unexplained noises and whilst peering out of the window sees a woman dressed in black.
Shortly after returning to the village a villagers daughter commits suicide. The villagers continue to warn Arthur about returning to the house, all except Daily the wealthiest man in the village, who doesn’t believe the superstition even though his own son has died from similar mysterious circumstances.
Arthur later discovers upon sifting through more paper work that Alice’s son who had drowned in the marshes was actually her sister Jennet’s son and was placed in her care after Jennet was deemed mentally ill. After the boy dies, Jennet blames her sister and becomes bitter and twisted. After taking her own life, a number of young children in the village begin to die of what seem to be suicides. What is compelling the children to do this and what does the woman in black want? Arthur is determined to solve the mystery especially when his own son may be in danger.
My one fear of this film was not being able to get over the fact that Daniel Radcliff was Arthur Kipps. You immediately associate him with Harry Potter and I have to be honest and say it was a little distracting. Throw into the mix he actually has a son in this film and I got really confused.
There are other familiar faces though. If you watch “Call of the Midwives” you’ll definitely recognise the nanny played by Jessica Raine, who plays main character Jenny Lee in the popular BBC series. Also, Ciarán Hinds who plays Daily has been in a lot of recent films including “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”. I think he was probably the best character in the film, not including the woman in black herself.
If you want to see a decent horror movie for once I suggest you go see this movie and try to see it at the theatre as well because it’s well worth it. You’ll never sit in a rocking chair again…