Daniel Radcliffe may forever be in
the shadow of Harry Potter despite what movie he makes. Some will think of THE WOMAN IN BLACK as the film where
Harry Potter gets spooked. He plays Arthur Kipps, a widowed lawyer and father of one, who takes a job
to finish up the paperwork at the eerie Eel Marsh house in the British countryside. This job is a last ditch effort
to save his career. He finds himself in a small town where the locals don't want him to stay as they're worried
that their kids will die at the hands of a ghostly woman in black. Kipps is determined to do his job and soon finds
that the house has a story to tell. He uncovers the story of a woman separated from her son by her sister
and the kid died in the mud. The house is on an island of sorts where the tides come in and covers up the
road to the house. Kipps tries to put the matter to rest while the woman in black may have other plans.
THE WOMAN IN BLACK is one of the
new films that are trying to resurrect Hammer Films as a film studio. The film features a screenplay by Jane Goldman
(STARDUST, X-MEN: FIRST CLASS) which is adapted from a novel by Susan Hill. It is a very atmospheric horror film
which relies on shadows, bumps in the nights, and the little details. If you're expecting a gore fest, you want to
lock elsewhere. THE WOMAN IN BLACK is more of a haunted house thriller/ supernatural mystery. Daniel Raddcliffe
pulls off his role as a sad father who misses his son and the wife he lost when she gave birth to their son.
Ciaran Hinds plays Kipps' wingman
in a way. Hinds' character, Daily, feels sympathy for Kipps and wants to accept Kipps while providing help to
him. Daily and his wife (Janet McTeer) lost their son years ago. Daily isn't a believer to the superstitions
the locals believe in. Hinds plays Daily as a haunted man who is trying his best to put the specters of
the past behind him. I could imagine Daily sees Kipps as the type of man his own son would have grown up to be.
Maybe he thinks he can help Kipps get past his own past loss and not be so haunted by it. Kipps so wants to connect
with the spirit of his wife while Daily doesn't want to believe in such stuff, but maybe Daily feels he wants to make sure
Kipps is safe as he leaves his dog with Kipps one day when Kipps goes to the house again.
I hope THE WOMAN IN BLACK is the first
of many films that will herald the return of a film studio that delivered classic horror films in the 1960s and 1970s.
THE WOMAN IN BLACK is a well written and acted atmospheric horror film which I recommend you see. You will never
feel the same about seeing creepy women ghosts in black dresses ever again. It makes me feel like I want to return home
if I ever ended up in a house haunted by a ghost like the one in THE WOMAN IN BLACK.
Feature audio commentary with Director
James Watkins and Screenwriter Jane Goldman chat about the various locations used to make the film in addition to talking
about the story and characters (the track’s primary focus).
INSIDE THE PERFECT THRILLER: MAKING THE
WOMAN IN BLACK (nine minutes) is a promotional featurette on the making of the film that highlights the green screen work
they used to film the title character as a ghost (and the look of this ghostly villain).
NO FEAR: DANIEL RADCLIFFE AS ARTHUR KIPPS
(four minutes) focuses on Radcliffe and others talking the role of Mr. Kipps and Radcliffe playing him.
FINAL ANALYSIS: THE AOMAN IN BLACK is an atmospheric thriller. If you are excepting gore and cheap scares, please look elsewhere.
If you are a fan of the old Hammer films and films that rely on mood and a good script, go rent or buy this film.
This movie review is (c)5-26-2011
David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to firstname.lastname@example.org