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The Woman in Black Review

The Woman in Black (12a)

Reviewed by Rachel Geeson

Score: 4/5

As a horror / scary movie fan I was interested in seeing The Woman in Black and I’m glad I saw it. Although I only jumped on a couple occasions there was a lot of people in the screen that were actually screaming as they were surprised and were scared with some of the moments in the film.

The Woman in Black is a horror-thriller film directed by James Watkins and written by Jane Goldman. The film is based on Susan Hill’s novel and this gripping film lives up to the creepy material she had written living up to its terrifying stage play adaptation.

In his first post-Harry Potter leading role, Daniel Radcliffe plays Arthur Kipps, a widowed junior solicitor who is in grief from losing his wife who died giving birth to his son, Joseph, who is now four-year old son. For work he travels to the small, coastal town of Crythin Gifford to get the affairs in order of the late Alice Drablow, a reclusive widow who lived alone in Eel Marsh House – an ominous, deserted mansion, situated on a desolate causeway, which at high tide is completely cut off from the mainland.

Kipps is greeted with hostility by the suspicious locals; refused a room at the inn and sent on his way by the local mayor with “all the necessary paperwork” he will need to carry out the investigation. Above all he is warned away from Eel Marsh House.

But under pressure by his boss to seal this deal, Kipps endeavors to prove his worth and travels through the marshland to the eerie, deserted old mansion – reminiscent of the classic haunted house. After a series of unnerving events and spooky occurrences, that caused the audience around me to jump out of their seats and have a little scream.

The creaking and the cracking in the house escalate and sightings of a haunting woman make it clear that Kipps is not alone in Eel Marsh House. When I first saw this woman, she reminded me of another spine-chilling woman from a horror-thriller film. as  I mentioned earlier that I am a fan of horror films,  the woman that she has some creepy resemblances to is the women from the 2010 film Insidious. One resemblance is that in both films, the character is not fully seen until the end. And in The Woman in Black the ghost character is shown in quick glimpses and fast cutting shots which causes the audience to be on their edge of their seats to keep an eye out for when she might next appear.

Soon, the late Mrs. Drablow, who manifests herself in the form of a pale woman covered in black starts to make her presence known in the house and town. When the town’s children start to die in increasingly brutal circumstances, Kipps is targeted by the devastated townspeople who blame him for disturbing the twisted old lady and provoking the curse she put on the town who she blames for the death of her son.

The opening scene is of three little girls playing with their dolls, which all seems okay for a few seconds before they look around, stand up at the same time and throw themselves out of the window, which truly sets the audience up for a disturbing and creepy ninety minutes.

The setting of a cold, grey coastal town is used to great effect and what’s more feels very real and authentic, as do the people that inhabit the world.

The real thrills start once Kipps is alone in the mansion at night; the director James Watkins plays with isolation, the state of Kipps’ mindset and the darkness and coldness of the Gothic old house. Which causes a number of mini shocks for the audience as causes a scarred reaction for them.

A scene in the supposedly empty mansion where a rocking chair starts to rock back and forth at the far end of a corridor, which Kipps slowly makes his way down, is one of the most tense and suspenseful scenes in the film.

The young actor who plays Joseph in the film, is played by Misha Handley. Daniel personally chose Misha to play the part of his son, as in real life the young boy is in fact his godson.

The Woman in Black is a master class in horror movie filmmaking; the first must watch horror of 2012. Any film that can reduce a grown man and woman who were sat next to me to SCREAM out loud as if their  own life was in danger and induce at least ten jump-out-of-your-seat moments is a worthy chiller is a must see film. If you’re a horror fan, you won’t be disappointed when you see this film.

Categories: Film Reviews
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