You know, Daniel Radcliffe has his work cut out for him. No more of the gravy train, easy ride of the Harry Potter movies. Now he has to make a solid career for himself as a grown up actor. No magic wand to get him out of trouble, anymore. This film is no Harry Potter and the Cranky Ghost.
You know, Daniel Radcliffe has his work cut out for him. No more of the gravy train, easy ride of the Harry Potter movies. Now he has to make a solid career for himself as a grown up actor. No magic wand to get him out of trouble, anymore. This film is no Harry Potter and the Cranky Ghost. And being the first film after the Potter franchise, he takes a role that is appropriately different. The Woman In Black is a little spooky film based on a novel that has already had a film made based on it.
These things are tricky sometimes, because here you are making a film with material that has proven successful before, so it’s not too risky, but it’s also a film that has been made before, so you’re already set up for comparison. Luckily, for the most part, it turns out to be a good safe choice for Radcliffe, and about the same for us movie-goers, too.
In The Woman in Black, Radcliffe plays Arthur Kipp, a young lawyer sent out to a remote village to go over the legal papers of the estate of a recently deceased woman. But the town is terrorized by the ghost of the woman, and Kipp is about to be stuck in the middle of it.
I love a good ghost story film. These days I lean a little more toward that than pure horror gore-fests. Grossing me out isn’t as effective as creeping me out. And The Woman in Black is a good spooky ghost story. There are some great scares, and plenty of creepy mood to keep you all tingly. It’s a beautiful film, too, with wonderful locations and sets. The location of the house that Kipp is sent to is familiar – I’ve seen it in some other films. It resides on a small island that is at the end of a road that is only accessible during low tide. High tide, and the road is under water. You think someone is going to get stuck in that creepy old house over night? Yep.
Of course it’s Arthur Kipp. He wants to get that paper work done because he’s in danger of losing his job because he isn’t bouncing back too well from the death of his wife a few years ago. His boss tells him to shape up or he’s fired. So, he’s pretty stressed out with all that going on, plus he’s raising the four year old son the wife left behind. Radcliffe is certainly good here – not stellar. He’s a little one note, even though he does spend considerable time on screen alone walking cautiously around this big spooky house, so he’s carrying a lot of this film on his own. But it’s not Radcliffe that is the focus of the film. It’s the mood, the production design, the location, and the atmosphere that carries this film. And all that is wonderful.
The supporting cast is all great. Can’t go wrong with actors like Ciarin Hinds, right? No, you can’t, take my word on that. And the actual Woman in Black is as creepy as she needs to be, without ever saying a word.
The screenplay is written by the author of the novel of which is the source, and Jane Goldman who co-writes a lot with Matthew Vaughn of Kick Ass fame. Apparently this version of The Woman in Black ends differently than the first film adaptation, and different than the novel, even though the author is involved in all three. Whatever the version is in either previous incarnations, this one has a warm and fuzzy resolution that I’m not sure I like. I would have preferred a darker ending as this one doesn’t seem to fit with the tone of the rest of the film.
All that being said, if you like the uplifting Hollywood ending, then you ‘ll like this. Still, overall The Woman in Black is a good little ghost story and really beautiful to look at. Three kittenhands. At least a half more if you like the end, half less if you don’t.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, kind of ready to move past the junk movie season.