The Woman In Black is based on a story which states that everytime you see the ghost of a scorned woman, a child dies.
A pretty morbid story to start with, and one that gets executed well enough.
James Watkins is known mostly amongst horrorbuffs for his movie ‘Eden Lake’ which was a modest hit in the UK. With a bigger budget and bigger name he manages to show his potential even more.
However: the real star of this movie is the art direction. From the gorgeous haunted house to the dark atmosphere. Costumes, sets, and locations are all beautifully put together in an effort to make you feel part of the story. Daniel Radcliffe does his best to outgrow his Harry Potter stigma, and for the most part he manages to do so. However, seeing him as a dad of a 4-year old, with lots of hefty dialogue to boot, it’s a bit of a stretch to believe in his character.
A more seasoned actor would probably have been a better choice, and this becomes painfully obvious in his scenes with Daily ( portrayed by Ciarán Hinds ) who is a much more skilled actor than Daniel.
And that’s not the only obstacle the movie has to overcome. When you make a haunted house movie there are lots of cliche’s a director has to avoid. Whether it’s the obligatory jump scares (mostly shots that zoom in to be followed up by a loud noise or camera movement) or the well threaded story of the character figuring out the back story of the ghost.
And in this regard ‘The Woman In Black’ doesn’t do anything specifically new to the genre as well.
But that doesn’t mean the movie isn’t effective in creeping you out.
James Watkins uses his set (the house) to it’s maximum to create as scary a movie as possible.
With lots of slow moving pans and zooms he manages to draw you in further and further until the point you let your guard down, which is oftentimes the point he strikes.
If you, like me, have a fear of haunted houses, this movie definitely taps into that a lot.
But when looking back on it from an objective point of view, it’s definitely not as great as it could have been.
One does wonder though, will there ever be a normal train ride for Daniel Radcliffe?