Monday, 6 February 2012

Movie review: The Woman In Black (2012)

The audiences first screams of terror were quickly followed by relieved nervous laughter just a few minutes in to The Woman In Black during the preview screening at Broadway Cinema, Nottingham. 

There was no warning, no musical score building up the tension to that moment, we were simply deeply engrossed in the plot thanks to a brilliant, understated performance from Daniel Radcliffe as Arthur Kipps.

Arthur Kipps is a solicitor and a grieving widower with a young son. He is sent away to the foreboding Eel Marsh House in Crythin Gifford to attend to the estate of one Mrs Alice Drablow. Upon arrival in the village Kipps soon learns that strangers aren’t welcome. Everywhere he turns he is put off going near Alice Drablow’s estate, but being a determined young man he finds a way. Kipps soon has reason to regret his determination as a series of supernatural encounters lead him to discover the secret of the terrifying Woman In Black, whose malevolent presence haunts his every move...

If you’re expecting this movie to be a word by word replay of the book by Susan Hill you will be disappointed, because it isn't, but it does stay true to the heart of the book. 

The book examines the pain of love and loss, the nature of grief and how a need for revenge can poison everything it touches. 

The casting of Daniel Radcliffe in the movie was an inspired move as he does have that ability to portray an inner sadness; the deep melancholy of a bereaved man is reflected in his eyes and the way that he holds himself. He exudes empathy for another’s pain, including The Woman In Black’s when her horrifying past is revealed.

I spent most of the movie being scared witless, despite having read the book twice and seeing the play twice. 

This is old school horror; there are no sex scenes or violence for violence’s sake here. This is all about shadows and light, the things that flicker in the corner of your eye and then disappear. 

The ominous whisper of a black skirt reflected in the corner of a mirror, while an oblivious Kipps nervously holds up a lamp and stares into a room beyond; or the light dancing in a porcelain toy’s eyes, giving you the chilling impression that they’re following you around the room. 

It’s these moments that will make the hairs on your arms stand on end (or, as in my friend's case, stuff your scarf in your mouth to stop yourself from screaming!).

This movie is a must-see for fans of the book and the play. According to the Director James Watkins (who was born in Nottingham), Susan Hill herself approves so don’t miss it. 


victoriabantock said...

I'm really excited about this! Can't wait to see it. I'm also pleasantly surprised as I thought D.R would maybe suffer the child star fate and never get away from the whole H.P thing but..he looks very good in this from what I've seen so far!

I'm also very much enjoying the mass 'Books turned into films' that's happening right now..much hand rubbing :)

Pam McIlroy said...

I hope you enjoy it. I'm going to go and see it again when it officially comes out, I'm sure that there are things that I missed when I was hiding behind my hands LOL!

I'm enjoying the whole books as films thing too.

Pam :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Pam ... I hate horror movies - but everyone is very keen on this film - so perhaps I should pluck up courage and go along to see it ..

I think I'll do an afternoon performance!!

Cheers - excellent read ... Hilary