Daniel Radcliffe has been doing pretty damn well since his “Harry Potter” days came to an end. He had a stint on Broadway, released his first movie since “Harry Potter” back in February, and has a couple projects already lined up, including the recently added supernatural thriller “Horns”, based on the novel by Joe Hill. In anticipation of this news, I had to go back and revisit “The Woman In Black”.
“The Woman In Black” tells the story of a man named Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe), a lawyer, whose job is in jeopardy after the death of his wife during the birth of their child. In order to redeem himself of his job and keep him and his son living a stable lifestyle, he is sent to a small town to sort out the paperwork of the recently deceased Alice Drablow in Eel Marsh House before it is put up for sale. He soon encounters the vengeful ghost of the woman in black, whose acts of revenge involve the death of the children of the town after she is seen.
From the get-go, a creepy, dark atmosphere is established and doesn’t let up ever. The time period is supposed to be the early 1900’s (Victorian era) and that was exactly what it felt like- from the costumes, to the props, to the sets- everything had a great Gothic and Victorian feel to it. The locations that were used were outstanding and the Eel Marsh House was awesome.
A mise-en-scene element that is used quite a bit is children’s toys. In this movie, they are creepy looking, and are used to create tension, anticipation, and fear. To a certain extent, this device worked, but at the same time, I feel that there could have been more done with them.
The acting isn’t extremely spectacular, but it is by no means terrible in the least. I anticipated seeing Daniel Radcliffe as a character that was completely different from Harry Potter and I was pleasantly surprised by his performance and enjoyed it immensely. He doesn’t necessarily have a lot of dialogue: mainly he has to wander around the creepy house looking scared/curious. I thought he carried the movie very well and I look forward to seeing him in more films.
Something that I really loved was whole theme of white vs. black and the juxtaposition of the woman in black with Kipps’ dead wife, who is seen countless times in the movie dressed all in white; the woman in black (vengeance, evil) as opposed to the woman in white (innocence, purity).
Also, I liked the fact that you don’t really see the face of the woman in black clearly except for one scene. In my opinion, not being able to clearly make out her face leaves her more mysterious, more uncanny, and scarier.
General consensus: “The Woman In Black” is worth the watch. Compared to the horror movies that Hollywood has been spitting out lately, it’s a refreshing ghost story.