Monday, February 6, 2012
THE WOMAN IN BLACK
THE WOMAN IN BLACK (2012)
Directed by James Watkins
Daniel Radcliffe - Arthur Kipps
Ciaran Hinds - Sam Daily
Janet McTeer - Mrs. Daily
A young lawyer travels to a remote village where he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals.
Even though this isn't the first of the new Hammer Films I've reviewed, The Woman In Black is the fourth film the reborn studio and third to have a wide release unlike last years Wake Wood which only came out in limited release. Now I'm going to go ahead and say going into the movie I had no expectations for the film so where I didn't get overly excited as to be let down by it. Nor did I go into the theatre expecting the worst movie ever made either. I went in pure neutral to the film. The reason more than anything else is because with this movie Hammer has a chance to become a major player in the horror genre again thanks to star Daniel Radcliffe and a heavy promotional campaign. The only true thing going against it this past weekend was it opened up on a heavy genre weekend in theatres and also the weekend of the Superbowl.
Of course with this I'm going to start with Daniel Radcliffe as Arthur Kipps. With most young actors that become famous due to roles they played in their youth and the same recurring role to boot, in this case for over 10 years,most of them find switching over to more adult roles hard to almost impossible. For one, the audience will always see them as the characters they've known and grew up with. Well Radcliffe has no problem with the transition that most have in the past. Here he is completely believable as a father in financial trouble who has a take a job he doesn't want to. Even when thing start getting weird you are convinced that Radcliffe is Kipps and experiencing those emotions he is displaying on screen and the danger he is feeling. Radcliffe is almost haunting in this role and shows that Radcliffe can take on other roles that are more mature and adult as well as carry a movie by himself. The supporting cast is excellent as well especially Ciaran Hinds as Samuel Daily who lost his son, yet refuses to place the blame on anyone even when the truth is in his face until it is almost too late.
The story for The Woman In Black is the main draw for the film to me. The story is a nicely done ghost story that does use a few boo type scares as the beginning of the film which thankfully transitions into all around creepiness and atmosphere as the story unfolds. And what a story it is. Even though it starts out slowly, which I didn't mind one bit in this case, it picks up once Radcliffe's character arrives to his destination. The villagers treat him with disdain and want nothing to do with him and want Kipp to leave right away. Once he reaches Eel's Marsh to sift through paperwork the story get's darker as the titular Woman In Black shows up and children start dying. Kipp's isn't swayed by this as he seems to still be in shock from his wife's death from years before as he still keeps working. As more creepiness ensues though, Kipp seems to come more alive and more worried as his son is due to his is supposed to arrive in the village in a couple of days. The rest of the story I'm not going to go into as it will ruin the ending for those that haven't seen it.
Director James Watkins knows how to create genuine suspense and creepiness that permeates the entire film. From the fog covered London streets where the film starts to the off color village from the use of color palates helps with the sense of unease. But to me it's Watkins use of filters that really lend the film a air of difference than most other ghost stories that I've seen. It's also Watkins use of camera angles and tracking that also helps with unnerving aspect. A good example of this is when the camera tracks a lit candle by the eyes of wind-up toys. By doing this it, makes the toys look like they are alive and watching Radcliffe's character which creates an air of anxiety that can almost be felt. The sound as well helps with the trepidation throughout the film as little sounds can be heard when the film is shot in the Marsh House. My only really complaint is the ending of the film. Not with what happens to Kipp but what is shown when the screen goes black afterward as it was to me needless. Except for that the film was quite a great film that actually has great scares and thrills The Woman In Black is a great horror movie that relies on atmosphere other than blood and guts yet is still made for more mature audiences rather than the teen audience most wide release horror films are panning to these days.
Any film that starts with three little girls committing suicide you know you're in for something.
You don't believe in ghosts, do you?
The film was originally scheduled to be shot in 3D, but the plan was scrapped later on.
Adrian Rawlins, who played Daniel Radcliffe's father in the Harry Potter movies, played the same character in the 1989 version as Radcliffe plays in this film.
Ciaran Hinds who plays Sam Daily, was also in the last two Harry Potter films as Aberforth Dumbledore.