The Woman in Black (2012)


Nope, he’s still Harry Potter, just all grown-up now.

The film stars Daniel Radcliffe as a young lawyer who must go to a small English town in order to sort out the papers of his recently deceased client. While there he catches a glimpse of a woman in black and begins uncovering dark secrets that suggest that the locals know more than they let on.

As soon as this film was announced, so many people all got crazy and hype over the fact that they are finally bringing back the old-school horror movie-types from long ago. The whole idea of a haunted mansion hasn’t really been used for the longest time since the days of the 90’s, but I can say that with the right talent behind it, it could actually make a big come-back. That is, if you have Harry Potter head-lining it.

Director James Watkins does a pretty good job of setting this pretty dark and creepy atmosphere with great and good production designs to back it all up. There is barely any color in this flick at all, with everything here filmed with a very darkish blue look that adds to the flicks style, but the long sweeping shots of the land as we get closer and closer to the mansion, really does look beautiful. It’s nothing new or inventive but when it’s done right and in a very stylish way, then it’s something to at least give applause to.

The film also does have its fair share of scares that work. There’s this one great long sequence that lasts about 20 minutes with little or no dialogue, and it just shows the lead character roaming throughout the house as the The Woman in Black practically torments the hell out of him. The whole sequence is filled with so much tension and creepiness that I was honestly waiting for something to pop-up at any moment. There’s no surprises here when it comes to the scares considering we know when something is and will pop-out, but it’s just the fact that this flick was still able to make me jump and have a little fun with the scares is what gave me this enjoyable feeling.

Still, the problem has its obvious faults when it comes to its writing. The script isn’t terrible by any means because the film is more centered towards the scares and whatnot but the problem here is that the film’s main story about the lead character, and for about the first 30 minutes, there is nothing going on, let alone anything scary happening either. It’s sort of just a bland story that shows this dude walking around this haunted house looking at every little inch in it and then talking with some folks about his family and what this myth is all about. It’s fairly boring once they get to these parts and it’s not like it bothered me completley because the scares do actually work, it’s just that the film keeps on going back to this story way too much.

The other big talk about this flick, other than the fact that it’s bringing back old-school formula’s, is whether or not Daniel Radcliffe can actually get rid of his whole Harry Potter image. The answer to that question is ehh……sort of. The reason I say sort of is because Radcliffe’s character is so bland and uninvolved that we never really get behind him nor his story, which isn’t his fault because he’s fine it’s just that the writing made him seem all lame. It was also a tad bit distracting that Radcliffe seems way too young to have a 4-year old child unless he was like 17 when he had it, which is pretty reasonable. Basically the performance from Radcliffe was OK but they never really gave him much to work with and it’s a shame that it seems like this role could have been played by anyb0dy else too.

His fellow supporters in this flick aren’t anything special either but they try their hardest. Ciaran Hinds seems to bring a lot of warmth to his character, Daily, and just about every time he showed up on-screen, I felt relieved that we were going to get another good scene from him. Recent Oscar nominee Janet McTeer (who I kind of think should win) does a fine job here as his wife, but her scenes are very weird and I laughed at just about every single one, without really knowing if it was supposed to be intentional or not.

Consensus: The Woman in Black uses an overused concept very well with some fun scares and a very stylish look, but overall, it feels like nothing new that we haven’t seen before and the main story itself is rather dull and uninvolving, just like the character that Radcliffe plays.

6/10=Rental!!

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17 comments

  1. I’ve been curious to see this one (for the same reason a lot of people would be) as I want to see how well Dan Radcliffe can shake off the Potter character – it’s definitely possible, but it will probably take a while!
    I scare very easily in horror films, especially if it’s the first time I’m seeing them, so if I hear someone say they jumped, I just assume I’ll be terrified. Horror’s are the one thing I’m not good at.
    Nice review! (On a side note, I hope Janet McTeer wins the Oscar as well!)

  2. Definitely want to see this one, but glad to wait for the rental. Radcliffe has definitely grown as an actor, as is evident from his performances through the HP series, but he’s always going to be haunted by that role in the same way as many former actors with similar iconic roles were. Part of the problem is that he wasn’t known for anything else before coming to that role. In time, I hope the stigma can wear off some, because it would be nice to be able to access a performance of his without thinking “Ha! Look at Harry Potter trying to be an adult!” Maybe if he gains a bunch of weight and goes bald, we’ll have that opportunity, but at least for Radcliffe, money will never be a “need”. So, he definitely played it right to stockpile the cash while he could.

  3. Going to see this tonight! I actually saw the play of The Woman in Black a couple months ago and really enjoyed it. I’m curious to see how similar the two are. I know that there’s also a book (I think based off the play) roaming around out there.

    I’m with you there that Radcliffe doesn’t quite fit the bill for the age, considering that the character is supposed to be 27 or 28. But I did hear great things about the “old-school horror” and the set, so I look forward to seeing it.

    Nice review, Dan.

  4. Your description matches my assumptions about this film exactly. I doubt I will see it in theaters, but I know I will catch it eventually.

    I do wish Radcliffe well, I actually liked him best and saw his potential as a child in 1999’s David Copperfield. I am not much of a fan of the Harry Potter mania, only read the first book and saw the first movie because I was asked to by my niece. It was just not my thing. But I do love horror and had hopes for TWIB until I read the updated plotline elsewhere. I think I’ll go rewatch the 1989 version of The Woman in Black again, now that was REALLY scary. 🙂

  5. Once again we disagree. I think this was a simple and great suspense film. I’m not going to nominate it for major awards but it’s a great move for Radcliffe and a success worth seeing on the big screen.

    As with before: Thanks for another take, and keep it up!

  6. I’m interested in seeing it. But I think that if Radcliffe wants to get rid of his Potter image, he’ll need to work on HBO or do something incredibly drastic that sets him apart from the Potter films in terms of acting.

  7. Too bad, I really liked the trailer. Might check it out when it comes out on DVD. Nice review man. Also, something completely unrelated to this review, but concerning my site: Basically I completely messed up. I changed my site URL, for reasons explained in my latest post, but due to a mistake filmiac.wordpress.com doesn’t redirect to the new adress, which is this: http://terrorcin.wordpress.com If you could be so kind as to change the URL in your blogroll, that would be most awesome. Thanks man.

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