Wednesday, 13 May 2015

The Woman in Black - film review

The Woman in Black is a 2012 film adapted from the famous and immensely successful  story by Susan Hill. It's set in the Edwardian era, and concerns Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), a young widowed solicitor with a small son who is looked after by a nanny. His grief has affected his work, and his boss sends him out to a remote Northern village to look into a probate matter, saying that he is on a "final warning" (here, and in some other instances, I felt that the screenplay failed to capture the dialogue of the period.)

Kipps finds that his attempt to visit Eel Marsh House (great name!) is very unpopular with people in the village. The innkeeper doesn't want to put him up, and the local solicitor is no help at all. But he bribes someone to take him across an eerie causeway, through the marshes, to the spooky and half-derelict mansion.

Bad Things have happened at the house, and they soon start happening to Arthur. The house is full of old child's toys, and although they are a rather hackneyed device in stories like this, very effective use is made of them .The ghostly Woman in Black makes her appearance, and something terrible happens in the village.

Arthur is befriended by an older man called Sam, whose child died some time ago, leaving Sam's wife in a dreadful state. Sam doesn't believe in ghosts, but before long the Woman in Black reappears...

I enjoyed this film. Of course, ghost films set in haunted houses are something of a cliche, but the story is a strong one compared to many, and its success is unsurprising. Radcliffe and Hinds are excellent, and despite a few moments of clunkiness in the script, I was gripped from start to finish. Apparently a sequel has recently been released, to rather less acclaim..

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