Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Film Review: 'The Woman in Black'

So today me and my uni friends plucked up the courage to go and see 'The Woman in Black'; directed by James Watkins, it is an adaptation of the novel by Susan Hill. I had heard about the play, and how terrifying it was with the woman in black actually wandering around the audience, so despite being apprehensive, I've read great reviews of it so decided to man up and give it a go!

'The Woman in Black' is the story of Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), a widowed lawyer who is sent to a Northern rural village to sort the paperwork of its recently deceased resident, to discover the house is not quite empty. I'll be honest, a good portion of this film I watched through my scarf! It wasn't particularly bloody or gory, but I really felt caught up in the tension that the film created, and just knowing the woman in black was present was enough to scare me!

The physical look of the film adds a lot to the atmosphere; the stony grey houses, misty horizon and overgrown landscape seem to lack any sense of warmth or sunshine, and that's without mentioning the black marshland that surrounds the ominous Eel Marsh House. The woman in black herself is pretty menacing, but I personally thought the creepy toys around the house were frightening enough!

I am a huge Harry Potter fan, so I was worried that I would be unable to watch Daniel Radcliffe without thinking we were in Hogwarts, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Because his opposing lead character is essentially a ghost, he has quite a tough job of having to move the film along by himself, and wander around the house a lot without too much dialogue to rely on. I think he does a really good job with it; the only downside that we found was that he was a little unbelievable as a father and a husband, although I think that may be more down to us being used to seeing him as a school boy, rather than his peformance.

Horror films can often be a bit of a grey area: what doesn't bother one person in the slightest could absolutely terrify someone else. I think 'The Woman in Black' might be one of these films. I've seen some people's opinions that they didn't find it scary at all, but my friend Tarany ( and I were practically jumping out of our seat! I personally find the idea of ghosts really disturbing anyway, and I thought that the way this film portrays the woman in black, as well as the devastating effects of her curse, made for quite a chilling mix, so much so that it was hard to understand why Arthur didn't leave immediately! The ending is equally sad and satsifying, and the feeling of relief when you leave the cinema is a sign of the atmosphere it creates.

Quote of the Film:
Mr Daily: 'I believe even the most rational mind can play tricks in the dark.'

Rating: 3/5
Definitely worth a watch, but maybes in the daytime!



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