“The Woman in Black” follows Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), a solicitor who has to travel the English coast to prep a mansion for sale and look over the legal paperwork of the house’s former owners. On his way to the town, we are treated with a sweeping view of the English countryside. It’s a solitary place, beautiful and dark even midday.
When arriving in the village, Kipps is treated with mysterious hostility by some of the villagers and pressured to leave immediately. Doing so would result in him being fired, so he goes to the house anyway. This is when the creepiness of the movie sets in.
Many modern horror films rely on gore and graphic violence to frighten the audience, I feel they’re cheap ways to make the audience afraid. What I like about “The Woman in Black” is that it seems to avoid that kind of scare. There is some blood, but it never goes past it’s PG-13 rating.
The scares come from noises here and there, the footsteps of children, creepy toys that move by themselves and moving shadows you’re not sure you saw. Classic stuff that can jitter you without the shock. The way the director handles the job of scaring the viewer is well done.
We, the audience, are with Kipps as he experiences these supernatural happenings. Yet many things that happen around him are only shown to the audience. An example is a part in the trailer when Radcliffe is looking out a window at the haunted mansion. We see him looking out, and for a second there’s the ghostly face of a woman right next to his. The audience can see this, but Radcliffe can’t, and it works well to build up the tension for the viewer.
One thing I was kind of worried about that never came to fruition was Radcliffe having difficulty shaking off the role of Harry Potter. After giving a beloved character a face for over a decade, it stood to reason that he might have trouble shaking the role. Thankfully he didn’t. While his acting wasn’t Oscar-winning material, it wasn’t flat or dry either.
Other than the mediocre acting, the worst part of the whole film had to be the story. At its basic outline it’s a simple ghost story with a revenge sub-plot. But once you get into the details of the ghost’s actions, it kind of gets confusing. The way the ghost gets its revenge doesn’t make any sense because of its total misdirection.
“The Woman in Black” has a lot of beautiful, sweeping views of the English countryside; it also gives good scares without being violent or gory. The downside to the movie is the plot is kind of lacking, and the acting doesn’t always deliver where it needs to. So if you need to see “The Woman in Black,” I’d suggest going to the matinee showing.