Harry Potter and The Woman in Black?
Daniel Radcliffe’s first post Potter role sees him once again dealing with the supernatural. Hammer Horror makes a return to form with this adaptation of The Woman in Black. Radcliffe plays Arthur Kipps, a young and haunted lawyer who lost his wife during childbirth.
Falling behind in his work duties Arthur is dispatched to Cryphin Gifford to go over the piles of documentation of the Eel Marsh House that belonged to the now departed Mrs Drablow. Once Arthur arrives in the remote village, it’s not long before he starts seeing things including the vengeful woman in black.
Jane Goldman provides the script, the frequent Matthew Vaughn collaborator steps out on her own for the first time. Fans of the book and stage play might find some of the changes upsetting, but Goldman writes an efficient ghost story that might not satisfy the hardcore horror fans this still packs in a few thrills and chills.
Considering the 12A certificate, there are some good jumps and a creepy atmosphere throughout but most of the frights are of the generic jump scares you can see them coming a mile off but that’s half the fun of it. I’m sure a big deciding factor in Radcliffe taking on this role, was it was different to what he had done before. He’s playing an older character who’s also a father to a young child he feels disconnected to . This is where the first problem arises, whilst it’s plausible he could have fathered a child (he is nearly 23 after all), I just couldn’t quite believe he was a parent.
In the same way Alejandro Amenábar’ The Others built tension from the start, The Woman in Black has a solid first hour that feels like a Hammer movies from the 60s. Sadly the third act suffers from being predictable and it all leads to a fairly flat ending, I wouldn’t go as far to call it a bad ending just hurried and unsatisfying. While it does come as a bit of a disappointment this oddly fits in with many hammer films of old.
It’s not a total misfire, but it wasn’t very scary and the horror purist in me wanted this ghost story to have been made as a 15 or an 18. It’s a gore free story anyway, but it could have benefited from being more intense. I’m sure the Harry Potter fans will lap it up, but it left me feeling like it was a missed a watered down missed opportunity.
The Woman in Black has made a modest amount at the worldwide box office, from a $15 million budget this notched up tickets sales of $127 million before shifting a fair few Blu Rays and DVDs. A sequel entitled The Woman in Black Angel of Death is in the works and takes place 30 years after the events of the first film,