Woman in Black, The

To see or not to see…

The Story

Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) is a young lawyer in Victorian England whose work has suffered in the four years since his wife died.  He’s sent by his boss, as a last chance to get back in favor at work, to a remote house near the sea where the estate of an elderly woman needs settling.  It’s all paper work, but Arthur runs into a remarkable amount of resistance from the people in the village near the house as well as the local lawyer who is to assist him.  What’s wrong with Eel Marsh House and why do the locals seem so intent on keeping Arthur away?  It’s a mystery he must solve, for he needs this job to care for his young son.

The Verdict

Young Daniel Radcliffe has his work cut out for him if he is to ever shake the shadow of Harry Potter.  Taking a role in which he is clearly an adult (not a young adult – an widower with a child) is a helpful step.  His dialog is sparse, as if the filmmakers were afraid that every time he opened his mouth a Quidditch game would erupt, but he handles the role very nicely.  All those years under the tutelage of JK Rowling and Co. taught him well – Radcliffe is quite a good adult actor.

The production is lovely, with plenty of decidedly atmosphere.  From the indoor sets to the rolling sea mists, Eel Marsh House feels lonely, isolated and most definitely haunted.  The small town is carefully rendered with plenty of fear among the peasants – with good reason.

The story itself is nothing new – just a typical Gothic haunted house tale.  There are plenty of jump scares, well done make-up and special effects that show just enough to be scary without costing a fortune and a strong enough basic framework to hold the whole thing together.

The Woman in Black isn’t anything new, but if you’re in the mood for a spooky haunted house tale told in a very traditional style and with nice visual panache, it’s definitely worth checking out.  Also recommended for those who want to see how young Daniel is faring in non-Potter roles.  3 stars out of 5.

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