The Woman in Black
A young lawyer travels to a remote village where he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals.
Director: James Watkins
Writers: Susan Hill (novel), Jane Goldman (screenplay)
Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer and Ciarán Hinds
I am most critical when it comes to reviews on Movies rather than books because I find myself being increasingly disappointed in the countless selections that are almost always dubbed “The Best Film of the Year” or some other accolade. But not always. There are times when among digging around that I find gold. Movies that I think really are one of the The Best Films of the Year. Films that deserve awards and great praise. Unfortunately, for me, The Woman in Black was not that type of film.
I thought the movie was refreshing, especially considering that the HORROR genre, for the oddest reason, has been soured by excessive gore, outrageous cheesiness, and over the top nudity that should might as well be considered porn. The Woman in Black featured none of this, only classic-style suspense and ominous shadows that were frequently used by the Master of Suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock. However, this fact alone does not make it a great film. There are many things that are still needed, more so a plot that is finished by the end credits that ends the overall arc and STILL manages to make sense, and doesn’t contradict everything else that has happened before that moment.
I’ve found that those who have read the novel by Susan Hill may like this movie more than those who didn’t since they are already familiar with the story. Which is great, because that means it is a successful novel-to-film adaptation. However, it is the people whom have taken on the task of adapting it to film’s duty to ensure that those who have not read the book before, are not left befuddled because some important key elements may not have been transferred from page to screen.
I had HIGH expectations for this film, which is why I feel the slightest bit disappointed. There are few movies I set out to see on opening day, and while it still is a great film, it did not meet those expectations. While it was indeed creepy, I felt that it had enough room to explore that a bit more.
I still recommend people see it if it is one they want to see, because it still is great and will give you those scares you know going in that you are going to get.
Why a B-?
While it did not have the gore or nudity, it did keep with the cheap scare tactic. It took too long to develop and when it did, I felt it still fell flat. The ending, while tragically sweet, was unfortunately what threw the curve ball in the WHOLE film for me and felt that it was added as a “last minute” thing to try to cover up the holes left in the story.
Final Thought: A refreshing attempt at becoming a classic thriller that remains just that.