July 10, 2012

Guest Review: The Woman in Black(2012) @MissyFrye

Title:The Woman in Black(2012)
Director: James Watkins
Writers: Susan Hill (Novel), Jane Goldman (Screenplay)
Genre: Drama|Horror|Thriller
Rated: PG-13  Length: 95 min.

First, I’d like to thank Dale a.k.a. Horror-Nerd for allowing me to share a few thoughts with you about a recent movie I watched. It's an honor.

This film sort of came and went at the theaters without much fanfare, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d seen Daniel Radcliffe on The Graham Norton Show during the promotional run, but still didn’t get a good grasp of what the film was about.

The following synopsis is taken from IMDB: “A young lawyer travels to a remote village where he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals.”

From the beginning, Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe) is mired in sorrow. He lost his wife during the birth of their son (played by Radcliffe’s Godson, Misha Handley) four years earlier and hasn’t recovered. He’s on the brink of losing his job and has one last chance to redeem himself to his employers. Examine the documentation in the home of recently deceased Mrs. Drablow in anticipation of selling it.

When Arthur arrives in the remote village of Cryphin Gifford, he’s met with hostile and uncooperative residents. He bribes someone to take him to the house so he can perform his duties.

Tension runs high throughout the movie and small pieces of the puzzle are revealed at a pace befitting the medium. Its subtleties are frightening. The glimpses of shadow at the corner of your eye. The use of mirrors to show the occupants of a room. The character is most often unaware of what the viewer sees. By the time Arthur catches on, the viewers are on the edge of their seats.

If you’re looking for things to jump out at you, or a deranged ghost to fling axes at your head, you’ll be disappointed. There are a few shock scenes, but they are on par with the genre of the film, a truly spooky ghost story.

Radcliffe carries the movie and he does so brilliantly. The production designer, Kave Quinn,  did a magnificent job of creating a setting that embodies the essence of the story. Director, James Watkins, expertly handled all the elements - actors, setting, and script to create a tension filled ghost story that can proudly stand alongside classics of the genre.

According to some forums, there are mixed emotions about the way the film makers handled the ending and how it stood up to the book. After watching the movie, I wasn't sure if I liked the ending or not. It took a good night's sleep and a bit of pondering to decide that I did. As it would ruin the movie for those who have yet to watch it, I won't discuss it here. I like reading the books before the movie is released, but often it happens backwards. As there is a rift with passionate responses on both sides, I think I'll stick with just the movie and say, it is what it is.

Reviewer's Rating: 4/5

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