Film: The Woman in Black
Director: James Watkins
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciarán Hinds, Janet McTeer
the film has all the action in the present and therefore falls back on standard horror film tricks
With that in mind, this film isn’t bad. The main character, Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), has recently lost his wife and is in danger of losing his job at a law firm. To prove his dedication he must go to Eel Marsh House (a completely not ominous name whatsoever) and tie up the affairs of the widow that lived there. I’m not sure how such a menial task as collecting and reading someone’s paperwork will prove his dedication but, alas, I’m not a lawyer. He travels to the local village where he discovers that a vengeful ghost is offing the local children.
This film is not subtle. Unlike the play, which is done as a recreation of the events years later, the film has all the action in the present and therefore falls back on standard horror film tricks and, it might be said, shows its hand relatively early. The play has to be clever and subtle to achieve the same effects with less and actually achieves more than the film because of this. The film also cuts and changes a few key moments and details from the originals (book and play).
Granted, the film is actually quite frightening, and is successful in creating and sustaining tension (although I felt the music was a bit intrusive occasionally), and the jump-scares are executed well. There was also no trace of the wizard wonder-boy in Daniel Radcliffe’s performance, or none that I could detect anyway. That said, although he does an acceptable job, he isn’t quite old enough for the role.
Overall, an enjoyable film with a disappointingly overindulgent ending.