I made a point of not reading any reviews for The Woman in Black and went to see it based on the trailer I saw the previous week. You can see the trailer at the official Woman in Black site.
The film is based on the ghost story by Susan Hill and the screenplay is by Jane Goldman (better known as Jonathan Ross’s wife). It tells the story of lawyer Arthur Kipps who is a widower with a 4 year old son. He sent to deal with the affairs of a local eccentric woman Alice Drablow. On arrival at the village everyone seems to be hiding something and is reluctant to interact with Kipps. He manages to persuade one of the locals to take him to the house, which is set on an islet at the end of tidal causeway. The house is typical ghost story fare, covered in old vines and a bit rundown! Kipps settles down to look through papers and starts hearing noises.. He discovers that Alice lost her son Nathaniel after an accident on the causeway and his body was never found. I won’t tell you more as that will be a spoiler…
Let the scares begin..
Kipps is ably played by Daniel Radcliffe – better known as Harry Potter. I thought I would spend most of the film thinking of him being Harry but as he is playing a more mature role you don’t really think of it. It was a brave move by the film makers to have Radcliffe carry a film so soon after the end of the Harry Potter films.
The film is a good ghost story and there are plenty of scary moments, some of which will make you jump! It gets quite creepy but I personally found that it was just set pieces working up the suspense to a scary reveal and there was just a couple too many and not enough made of the story as whole. When the actual reason why the Woman in Black was haunting it seemed to happen all at a rush. On arrival at the village the locals seem suspicious of Kipps and he reasons that they do not seem to like his presence is not fully revealed early in the film and you spend a lot of the time wondering why they snatch their children indoors whenever he appears.
Things I didn’t like:
It was never revealed why the villagers took their children indoors whenever Kipps was seen. You have to assume that it was due to the goings on at Alice Drablow’s house and his association with dealing with her estate.
By mid-film I felt my mind wandering as it just seemed to stumble along from one set scary piece to the next.
The automata – why would anyone from that era even think of having them in a kids room!
Things I liked:
The Rocking Chair! When you go see it you’ll know!
The cinematography is first class. Most of the outside shots are misty which adds to the overall ghostly feeling.
The scary moment in the local lawyers cellar when Kipps is looking through the hole in the door.
Daniel Radcliffe leaving Harry behind and carrying the film. Some reviews say he’s not a good actor, perhaps he’s not the best but he did well here.