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A must-see Halloween Film!
Excellent acting by the much loved actor Daniel Radcliffe despite my fears that I would only ever be able to see him as Harry Potter.
Great horror story - had me on the edge of my seat the whole way through and I amost jumped out of my skin on many occasions.
After reading many positive reviews about this dvd I ended up purchasing it from Amazon.co.uk for around about £2.00 for my very good but used copy (including postage and packaging) and finally last night I got round to watching it with my boyfriend, cuddled up on the sofa. Both of us were keen to watch this one but neither of us had the courage before I presented it to watch it alone as we had both heard it was a spooky one!
Film Only Review:
The beginning of the film opens to see 3 little girls playing happily in Edwardian times and then suddenly without speaking the trio get up and jump out of a window to their death.
A few years later Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radliffe) is sent to arrange the sale of a huge house that had belonged to a lady called Alice Drablow who had recently died. He leaves his young son with his nanny and travels to the village where he finds that he is shunned really by people. When he gets to the house things start to move, he feels a presence and thinks he starts to see people move. He tries to talk the local police who assure him he saw nothing. Whilst at the police station reporting what he saw two young boys run in with their little sister who has drank lyes (a poison) and who dies and suddenly it becomes apparent that children are dying in the village rather often. The locals believe its The Woman In Black and Arthur, instead of wrapping up and going home goes on a journey to try to find out who she is because he now believes that she exists too.
When Arthur goes back to the house to do some paperwork he finds letters from the deceased lady to her sister about her little boy and he finds out what happened to him. At the same time the spookiness unfolds further with rocking chairs rocking themselves and what he thinks is people moving and he thinks he sees children out the front of the house. There is banging and clanging and he is convinced that there is a presence. Does The Woman In Black exist and if so what is her problem and can Arthur help to settle her down. Why are children dying and if its The Woman In Black doing then why?
Well I should call it our opinion really. We sat down to watch this and got spooked at the opening scenes of the film with three little girls jumping out of a window and the chilling music that the film had running throughout it. However the film is cast in dark light so we did struggle to see what was going on and also felt that Daniel Radcliffe was simply Harry Potter and we both struggled to see him out of the wizard role and that he was very stiff at times and unbelievable as a father to a young son because he looked young himself!
About 20 minutes in we felt we were lost within the film. We didn't know what the heck was going on and at one point my boyfriend picked up his mobile to google about it so we may catch on and when I said no he then wanted to turn it off cos he was fed up with it lol.
However the story gathered pace as it went along. We felt the beginning of the film was fluffed out too much and didn't explain the story well enough and we were soooo bored!
However like I say the film gathered pace and yep made sense in the end and yes both of us jumped a few times.
All in all though we didn't like this film very much at all. Ok story, not great acting and a real drag at times and you really do have to listen to whats going on or you can lose whats going on with ease.
Apparently there is going to be a sequel to this and we agreed neither of us want to see it so thumbs down from us on this one I'm afraid!
Rated 12 and with a runtime of 95 minutes, sadly we just felt we lost an hour and a half of our lives after watching this one we'll never get back!
This review is also posted on Ciao under this same username.
By all accounts, the original TV adaptation of Susan Hill's book The Woman in Black is extremely scary and atmospheric. If that's true, perhaps the producers of this 2012 film version could have done with sitting and watching it before they wrote this rather bland effort.
Arthur Kipps, a young Victorian lawyer who has recently lost his wife is sent to the North East of England to sort out the affairs of a client who has recently died. The house has a bad reputation locally and as Kipps stays he witnesses increasingly strange goings-on and starts to learn more about the mysterious and deadly Woman in Black.
It's important to note up front that I have never read the original book, nor seen the 1989 TV adaptation, so I had no axe to grind when I sat down and watched this; no grumpy old man rant about how the original was better. What I can say with a reasonable degree of certainty is that it probably ignores much of the rich contextual information that Susan Hill normally provides to establish characters and atmosphere. It certainly appears that some wider themes have been excised for pacing reasons. There are hints, for example, at Kipps' interest in spiritualism, but this is really not explored further; there are suggestions that he is grieving deeply and longs to be reunited with his wife, but again this is only given scant attention. It's a shame because exploring these elements would give the script some much needed emotional impact. Without it, things feel rather empty and superficial.
There is nothing wrong with the basic storyline. It feels like an old-fashioned ghost story (a good thing) and In terms of both atmosphere and style could almost be a companion piece to The Others or The Orphanage. It has that same slow-building atmosphere and a plot where facts are gradually revealed to the viewer.
Although nominally billed as a horror movie, it's clearly a horror movie for the masses, not hardcore fans. The 12A Certificate makes it clear it's not going to be pants-wettingly scary and so it proves. There's nothing wrong with this: it's intended as an old-fashioned ghost story, as such relies more on slow-burning tension, in preference to all-out scares. The tension slowly mounts as the film progresses and the unsettling atmosphere is mildly disconcerting.
The trouble is, mildly disconcerting is as far as it goes. A good horror film (or ghost story) needs to keep the viewer on edge; to set their nerves screaming so that every shadow seems to contain menace. The Woman in Black never comes close. No matter how much it isolates the main character or has the action occurring at night it is never scary. The few jump moments are badly telegraphed and will catch no-one by surprise. The slow-burning atmosphere is effective, but by itself it's not enough to keep the viewer's attention.
The real issue, though, lies with the cast - and principally, Daniel Radcliffe as Arthur Kipps. Radcliffe may have enjoyed success as Harry Potter, but that never relied too much on acting ability. As a child, surrounded by special effects and a franchise that would have succeeded regardless, this perhaps didn't matter. In a film like this, where atmosphere, tension and character are everything, it's a different story. Radcliffe is required to pretty much carry the whole film because Kipps spends so much time on his own in the empty house. Sadly, it's a role too far.
Radcliffe just doesn't have the acting chops to carry off the range of emotions needed. The role requires him to be sad, surprised, shocked, grief-stricken, happy, scared, disconcerted, uncertain, bewildered. To convince as the conflicted Kipps, he needs to emote like he has never done before, convincing the viewer of his emotional turmoil. Instead, he remains blank faced throughout.
This leaves a massive black hole in the centre of the film. Kipps is the very heart of the film. The viewer has to engage with him, sympathise with him, fear for him and experience his growing terror. It's the only way a film like this can work, and Radcliffe's failure to bring the role to life means everything else faces a losing battle. It also means that the ending (which should have a massive emotional impact) falls particularly flat and ends up being a) very obvious and b) exceptionally cheesy. It's a real shame, because other aspects of the film (story, setting) are OK. It just needed someone in this critical central role who can actually act.
In fairness, it's not just Radcliffe who is to blame. Ciaran Hinds as Kipps' new-found friend Daily is also rather bland. For various narrative reasons, Daily should be a character who evokes deep sympathies in the viewer. Instead, he comes across as rather selfish, thoughtless and self-centred.
The only real bright spot amongst the cast is Janet McTeer as Mrs Daily. Although she only appears in a couple of scenes, McTeer really convinces as a woman driven mad by grief and shows her two male counterparts what acting is all about. If Radcliffe and Hinds had matched this depth of performance, The Woman in Black would have had massive emotional impact. As it is, McTeer's performance is a small island of excellence drowning in a vast sea of mediocrity.
At the end of the day, The Woman in Black gets a lot of things right. The script (although superficial) is OK and the basic narrative strong. The setting is reasonably effective and the directing functional, if not outstanding. Unfortunately, a tale like this stands or falls on emotionally engaging with the main character and this one falls. Without this strong emotional connection, The Woman in Black feels empty, unengaging and disappointing.
The Woman in Black
Director: James Watkins
Running time: approx. 95 minutes
(c) Copyright SWSt 2013
*Forewarning that this review does contain significant spoilers for the overall film*
All I can say about this film, is that it will leave you with a fear of looking in windows for several hours after! It's deep, chilling and has some real jumpy moments, unlike other recent horror films.
The narrative centres around Radcliffe's character, haunted by the passing of his wife, who upon going away for work encounters the spirit. He sets out, gallantly, to solve the mystery and lay her spirit to rest. It also follows the common theme of mother and child and the bond between them.
The scenery is beautiful and atmospheric, all the foggy and dark elements of traditional horror films bought back into light. Being set a considerable number of years ago, the lack of technology and modern appliances makes the film even more unsettling, stripped of glossy gadgets and left totally alone in the dark. Somehow, it manages to be, THAT film about the haunted house on the little foggy island and not be cliche at all!
The actual fright factor for this film is pretty intense, you jump in all the right places, haunting little background noises sending goosebumps up your arms ... halfway through the film you realise the formula. When it all goes quiet. You know it's going to happen ... And you still jump anyway! This film really plays with all the senses, from sight, to sound to temperature (I'm convinced the cinema was getting colder in the creepier parts!)
All the characters in this film have a wonderful depth to them, in particular, the woman in black herself. The speechless character develops at a steady pace throughout the film, and by the end shows herself not to be the heartless and terrifying creature the audience believe her to be when she 'murders' father and son in order for them to be with his late wife. It's a beautiful ending, poetic in a sense.
The only issues I have with this film are that of the rating, and the choice of Radcliffe as the protagonist. While he did a fantastic job conveying the widower, in my eyes it was hard to believe him to be a man of greater years. However, more concerningly, I would not condone the rating given to the feature, as I am sure others will agree. This film really isn't suitable for anyone at the age, or under the age of 12. I fail to see how this was allowed to slip by at a 12A. It's jumpy, full of haunting faces and expressions and concepts.
The Woman in Black is a 2012 film featuring former Harry Potter child star Daniel Radcliffe in the main role. Radcliffe plays a grieving widower, Arthur Kipps. His wife died during childbirth 4 years previously, and he is struggling to hang onto normality. His job is on the line, and he is a man who must pull it all together somehow.
Set in about 1916, Kipps is a lawyer who has been sent by his boss to a remote coastal village to deal with the estate of a woman who has just died. Things start to go wrong from the off. He arrives at the local inn where he is supposed to be staying, but the landlord is cold and stand offish telling him their is nowhere for him to stay, and the local lawyer tries to get him to turn around and go back to London. However, Kipps knows if he does this he will be fired, so he perseveres and tries to deal with the paperwork involved in the woman's death.
He manages to hitch a lift to the desolate Eel Marsh House which is cut off by the tide for part of every day. He quickly starts to realise all is not as it should be when he hears strange noises in the house and random things start to occur. On his return to the village, he is further spooked when he is told tales of children who randomly die in suspicious circumstances, and the villagers have a huge superstition about the Woman in Black who haunts Eel Marsh House.
The film was atmospheric from the start, shot in tones that were quite drab and almost sepia like in places. This really set the sombre mood for the piece, and the spooky events that occured in the story. Eel Marsh House was suitably derelict and fitted with furniture and decorations that were suitable for the era. The toys in the nursery particularly were very creepy looking.
Radcliffe looks years older in this compared to his previous roles. I had watched one of the Harry Potter films only 2 nights prior to watching this and I honestly found Radcliffe absorbing as Kipps, and there was hardly a hint of Potter around him. The role was made his own, and I thought he showed a fantastic range in his acting in this piece.
The soundtrack by Marco Beltrami also added to the mood of the piece, adding to the chill as the film progressed.
Other actors in the piece such as Ciarán Hinds (who plays Daily, an important friend and influence on Kipps) are well know actors who you know from elsewhere, but again play the roles so well you forget they have ever been another character.
The plot is sound but for me lacked a little something as the film progressed. I felt there was something creepy there, but any scenes that were going to make you jump just moved too slowly and kind of petered out a bit before they got to the point. You could kind of see where they were before you got there, so although I felt a bit chilled, I never found my heart racing or scared at any point. The chilling was happening in my head following why the characters were acting the way they were, in particular why Jennet (The Woman in Black) had become this vengeful spirit who was terrorising the locals.
Special effects within this were pretty good, but more mechanical rather than CGI based. The perspective of the camera was used very effectively to give the sense that someone was watching Kipps from the moment he first approached Eel Marsh House, and the movement of furniture and toys was disturbing.
For me, this film is probably worth around 3.5 stars in terms of how well it achieves the story telling with the plot it has, but the acting within it and the skillful camera work make it feel to me it deserves more like 4 stars. I watch horror films if I want to be scared, and this one kind of let me down a bit through a lack of pace, but it is something I think people should watch just to see Radcliffe's transformation. He has come a long way since he was in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's stone and has developed so much that I felt he was totally believable in this role which should perhaps be played by someone actually older in years. If he were not in the role, I think the film would have suffered.
The Woman in Black DVD
My other half was desperate to see this at the cinema and since then, we bought it on DVD in the Blockbusters Sale for only £3.00. Amazon have it at the moment for £4.99.
The Woman in Black is based upon the classic ghost story by Susan Hill, and tells the tale of a young lawyer (played by Radcliffe) Arthur Kipps who is sent to a remote village, leaving his young son behind, to attend to the affairs of the recently deceased owner of Eel Marsh House. The reception he receives from the village community is anything but welcoming, and only one resident supports his work up at the old house, though when left to his own devices at the house, Kipps starts to wonder whether there is more to the townsfolk and their feeling of him being there.
It is not long before Kipps begins to uncover the town's tragic past and tortured secrets, and his fears escalate drastically when local children start dying in mysterious ways. What has this got to do with the strange woman in black that keeps making herself known to him? And just how much time has he got to find a way of breaking the cycle of terror before everything he holds dear is taken away from him.
The storyline is more of a subtle ghost story and is very well presented. I am not usually one for ghosts stories, though this one has depth to it and a well rounded storyline in which keeps the audience on the edge of their seats from the word go. It has a number of jumpy moments, though I would not say that it was particularly scary - more the thought of it than the story itself.
The main cast include;
Daniel Radcliffe ... Arthur Kipps
Misha Handley ... Joseph Kipps
Sophie Stuckey ... Stella Kipps
Roger Allam ... Mr. Bentley
Ciarán Hinds ... Daily
Liz White ... Jennet
There are a whole host of smaller parts, all of which are played well - especially some of the child parts. The main cast is very small though in this village setting, it works wonderfully and creates a brilliant feel to it. I was unsure as to whether I would like Radcliffe in this film as I know him well from the Harry Potter films in a primarily child role, and here he is playing an adult role, though he pulled it off quite well. Perhaps not my first choice in the main lead role, though he worked on his part and it came through wonderfully.
The special features on the DVD are minimal with mainly interviews with the main cast and directors. Daniel Radcliffe also reads a ghost story written by the winner of a competiton and photo galleries and story boards and trailers are also the main special features. Nothing really worth shouting about, though worth a watch once.
Daniel Radcliff is one of the luckiest young people on the planet. Plucked out of his life as a normal child, he was thrust upon us as the young harry potter. Several years, and films later, that ship has now sailed for poor Daniel, leaving him naked on stage playing with horses, and more recently, being Harry Potter with a different name in The woman in black.
Now, perhaps I am being unfair. Poor Daniel is only continuing on in the way he was taught to act. He continues to do the same things, using the same actions, and mannerisms that were so succesful last time out. However no-one has mentioned to Mr Radcliff that there is more out there in the big bad world than Harry Potter. It seems that we are destined to see a number of wooden performances from him, as he struggles to come to grips with what is known in the trade as character acting.
In brief, with no spoilers, the woman in black centres around Radcliffs character Arthur Kipps. Kipps lost his wife to childbirth, and has since struggle in his job as a lawyer to provide for his son, who survived the ordeal. In a kind of "last chance" sort of way, his boss sends him to a remote town to tie up the loose ends, after a woman dies. Her paperwork has been poorly looked after, and it is up to kipps to sort it out, aso the womans estate may be apportioned as it should be.
It soon becomes apparent that all is not what it seems in the town, and especially in the house when all manner of mysterious and eerie goings on occur, leaving poor old mister kipps in a right mess. He gradually learnds more of what took place here, and is left to pick up the pieces, and ultimately save the town.
The film was adapted from the 1983 gothic novel of the same name, written by Susan Hill. It was since made into a tv film, again of the same name in which, by sheer coincidence Harry potters on screen father, played the role of Kipps, since undertaken by his estranged on-screen son. The storyline is sound, and seems to be typical gothic horror fare. It has a decent background to it, and plenty of scope for scares along the way. Indeed, this translates in the modern version, and what we have is a none to shabby horror flick, which will make you jump if you let it. However, I personally found it hard to get that involved, due to the main character being so woodenly acted by radcliff.
A more competent actor, could have turned this round and you would have had a decent little film here, but as it is it blended into mediocrity at best. Other actors in the film are competent, and it seems to me that what has happened is they took a bit of a gamble on the lead, and he duly fell at the first hurdle. Perhaps its time that Mr Radcliff either puts Mr potter to rest, or realises that the only other option is to lay his career to rest instead.
The film came as a huge dissappointment to me, as I really was a big potter fan. He was so suited to those roles, and in fairness to him, his fortune is already made. That said, he has the potential to be a household name for many a year to come if he can simply shrug the invisibilty cloak that Potter as shrouded him in.
In conclusion. The film is OK. The majority of the actors ar OK. The story is strong, and the atmosphere that the film makers managed to get is good. The one major let down, is the fact that you cannot create any empathy, or reaction to the lead character. That in itself is usually suicide for any film. The film is typically bleak, with little or no happiness throughout its entirity, which gives you the strange feeling that you have certainly enjoyed some bits of the film, but you don't really know why.
Overall, I would still say its worth a watch, but I would not be expecting miracles. The odd hair will definately stand on the back of your neck, and all credit to the effects team for that, but it will not live long in the memory.
CastDaniel Radcliffe as Arthur Kipps, a young lawyer
Ciarán Hinds as Sam Daily, a local landowner
Janet McTeer as Elisabeth Daily, Daily's wife
Liz White as Jennet Humfrye, The Woman in Black
Roger Allam as Mr. Bentley, senior partner of Arthur's firm
Tim McMullen as Jerome, the local solicitor
Jessica Raine as Joseph's Nanny
Daniel Cerqueira as Keckwick, the carriage driver
Shaun Dooley as Fisher, village innkeeper
Mary Stockley as Mrs Fisher
Molly Harmon, Emma Shorey, and Ellisa Walker-Reid as the Fisher Daughters
David Burke as PC Collins, village constable
Sophie Stuckey as Stella Kipps, Arthur's wife
Misha Handley as Joseph Kipps, Arthur's son
Aoife Doherty as Lucy Jerome, Jerome's daughter
Victor McGuire as Gerald Hardy, a villager
Alexia Osborne as Victoria Hardy, Hardy's daughter
Alisa Khazanova as Alice Drablow
Ashley Foster as Nathaniel Drablow, The Woman in Black's son
Sidney Johnston as Nicholas Daily, Daily's son
I had wanted to see this film since it was released at cinemas earlier on in 2012. I was going to rent it from Sky Box Office a few months ago but in the end I didn't so I was delighted when I found it on Netflix yesterday which as a subscriber meant I could watch it for free. This is a film only review.
The film begins with three young girls playing in an attic room. Their clothing and toys imply that it is sometime in the 1800s and although they are all playing quietly it looks as though they are having fun. The silence does strike up on the fact that something isn't right here because as any parents would know, 3 girls under the age of 10 rarely play quietly! In unison the girls get up and look out of the 3 paned window at the end of the room. They open each window and then together they jump out. A harrowing scream is then projected through the house from the girls mother.
Arthur Kipps is a young lawyer. He appears to be saying goodbye to his son, Joseph and we soon learn that he is going away for work. Instead of saying goodbye to his wife he then bids farewell to Joseph's Nanny. A picture drawn by his son shows that his Mum is in heaven so it is just the two of them. It is clear Arthur loves his son but he does seem to be the tiniest bit uneasy around Joseph, not knowing quite how to care for his son. Arthur heads off to a small village for work where he is to settle someones estate. He tells Joseph he will see him in a few days and leaves on a train.
I had heard a lot about this film and a number of conflicting views about whether it was any good but more specifically, whether it was scary. The film promises to be scary but it is rated a 12A which I immediately thought was odd for a 'scary' film.
The opening of the film with the three young girls is harrowing and I found it uncomfortable to watch. Of course, every child is different but I know I wouldn't have wanted my niece to see this much before the age of 12.
I do like films set in the past and on this respect I thought that the film was very well done and the costumes and settings really helped to aid the air of mystery in the film.
Daniel Radcliffe plays the lead role of Arthur and I was intrigued to see how he would be outside of the Harry Potter world. I was also keen to see if I kept seeing him as Harry. Initially I was thinking to myself 'Ooooh its Harry Potter' but as soon as I saw him with Joseph this changed and a more grown up figure was shown before me with responsibilities and a son to care for.
I expected the acting to be first class in the film and I am pleased to say it really was. Daniel Radcliffes acting skills are vast and I thought he was suited to this role perfectly.
I found the plot interesting and it flowed well. The first half of the film was easy to follow but after this I did find myself a bit confused and the plot didn't seem quite so interesting but nethertheless it was still a good watch.
The film was released in 2012.
It is rated a 12A.
It runs for 95 minutes.
It stars Daniel Radcliffe.
A decent film. I would watch it again but probably wouldn't pay much for the DVD. The acting is brilliant and the plot is good but it is nowhere near as scary as promised.
The film opens up with three young girls playing together in an attic with some porcelain dolls. All at once they stare at something out of view, stand up, go to a set of three windows and simply jump out. A bloodcurdling scream follows and it's pretty clear that the young girls have committed suicide. I was pretty spooked out straight away as being a mum myself, it wasn't very nice to watch, despite it only being fiction. I watched the opening scene and straight away drove my husband mad, saying 'they are standing up.... Something's not right.... Oh god they're going to jump!' Slightly annoying!
The Woman in Black follows Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) as a young widow who seems unhappy with life. A father to a young son, he struggles to make enough money to support him and when he is asked to travel to a remote village for work, he knows he must go as it appears he is on his 'last chance' at work. Information about the death of his wife seeps through slowly throughout the film, and you really feel for the character.
Asked to look through all documentation in a deceased woman's house, Kipps makes his way to Eel Marsh House but meets much resistance from the locals along the way. Despite all of this the viewer (and Kipps) knows that he has to complete this task or he will be unemployed and unable to provide for his son, and so he makes his way to an extremely creepy looking island just off the main land where Eel Marsh House is.
After a few creaks and bangs, Kipps realise that something is not quite right but this is child's play compared to what comes later! After a search through the mounds of paperwork, Kipps slowly starts to piece together a terrible tale of one family's loss of a young boy and the impact this had on the immediate family. Kipps soon starts to see a woman dressed all in black in the grounds of the house, and this is when the trouble really begins. A serious of incidents happens back on the main land but seemingly soon after Kipps has seen the woman in black.....
Set in the past (I'm struggling to find an exact date, but most likely around 100 years ago), the film is very dark and misty and just generally not very colourful, all which adds to the mystery and spookiness!
I had heard many things about The Woman In Black ever since its release but mainly due to the fact that it stars Daniel Radcliffe / Harry Potter! I had heard that it was one of the scariest films in recent years, and I had also heard it was quite disturbing. When I saw it on Sky Box Office at the weekend I decided to give it a try as it was only £4 and still a fairly recent release. I was quite surprised at the rating of this 'scary' film though - a 12A, it couldn't be that scary surely?! Wrong! I literally watched 90% of the film peeking through my fingers and at one point even dramatically threw myself under the quilt and hid like I was 12 myself! At 95 minutes long, I would say that I was terrified for at least 70 minutes throughout!
As the film grabs you from the first scene I really enjoyed this film (despite being terrified!), it didn't take time to introduce the characters or any of the weird goings out, but simply threw you in at the deep end and continued as it meant to go on. The acting by Daniel Radcliffe was a world away from the wizarding realm of Harry Potter, and he was totally believable as the lost soul Kipps. The Director has the horror down to a tea, teasing the audience with creepy looking dolls, followed by a bang or whatever and then swiftly followed by the moment it was leading up to. I don't want to give anything away but there is one particular scene with a rocking chair (god I sound a wuss!) that I actually screamed at! I just thank the stars that I didn't see this at the cinema, I would have made a fool of myself that's for sure!
For horror lovers this film is a must. For anyone not scared by this film, I simply don't believe you ; )
"The Woman in Black" is a British supernatural horror film released in 2012, and directed by James Watkins and out on DVD until June this year. The story of this film is based on the 1983 fictional horror novel of the same name. The film is roughly an hour and 30 minutes long, and is given a guidance rating of a 12 because of a few scary scenes. It is rated 6.7 on IMDb, and even though it is an above average rating, I was a bit surprised that it wasn't higher; BUT after watching it, I totally understand the rating.
The story basically revolves around a lawyer named Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) who travels to a small town in order to work on the paperwork of a deceased client. Whilst there at the Eel Marsh house, he encounters an angry ghost of a woman. Her motives are unclear at first, but as Arthur spends a bit more time in the village, he needs to find a way in order to put an end to the vengeance this ghost is, and get back home to his son.
* The Beginning: The opening scene is brilliant. It is spooky, and chilling, but we learn the meaning of it as the story builds up. Right from the start we see these pretty unsettling scenes where little children kill themselves and something sweet turns into pure horror which definitely gives of a eerie vibe opening up the film, which is so fantastic and perfect for this kind of film. I don't think we could have asked for a better beginning to set the scene and keep us wanting to know more. After some first introductory scenes, the film does make a very quick move into the story of the film, and I think this is another thing that is great about the film and by this stage, you are likely to be absorbed in the story anyway. Overall, after seeing the first few scenes of the film, I doubt you would want to switch off - you will watch it right until the end! So great start.
* The characters: The characters all play their part well; it's as if you don't even have to think about how well they are acting as by that time you already learnt enough about the lead characters and are really intrigued by what is going to happen to them or what they are going to encounter, because before the film even begins we already know it is going to be something scary - that just goes to show good acting. There is not much dialogue to the film, so most of it is based on elements of body language and expression more than anything else, and what we see of that is convincing. Daniel Radcliffe plays a young father and a lawyer - he looks really great in the film and I think he is perfect for the role - I couldn't imagine anyone else doing a better job of playing the role of Arthur Kibbs as he had. One thing I did notice about the character Arthur, is that he was maybe a bit too brave - if you saw something that you thought was a ghost, you would probably run a mile in the other direction, and not go and investigate in that direction like Arthur does, but then again, there is no fun in turning away from a ghost. Even though, I did find myself thinking this character was UNUSUALLY fearless, almost as if he had experienced all of this many times before, the thing though is that it wasn't like one of those silly teenagers in horror films who seems to gets themselves into trouble on their own - nope, Arthur was here to do his law work!
* The Story: As much as I think the acting is good in the film, the story of the film is probably not my favourite or the best I've seen. There was not much originality about the story, but even so the acting, the setting and atmosphere really help make the fact that the story is a little bit unimaginative, so much better to be intrigued by. The story just moves along in its own sweet time - pretty slowly, until around the middle of the film where some of the long-awaited horror starts to begins. There are no twists in this film but there is lots of suspense and lots of places in the film that sort of keeps us holding on waiting for things to start going wrong and the scary bits to come up. There is a point where the story tries to build up - this is where the lead character needs to put an end to this horror the village seems to be experiencing from this ghost. This bit had potential to be the most interesting part of the film, but I didn't think it was THAT exciting. So basically, "The Woman in Black" is a haunted house horror story - just imagine all the things you would expect to happen in that sort of film and you got it here, but that doesn't mean that this film is bad because of that - the way we are driven into the plot is amazing.
* The horror/scares: I did like the film, but I think I had much higher expectation for its scares and the horror because of what the film's promotion made it out to be. There were a few scenes which were scary and those were more like jumpy scares more than anything, but other than that the rest of the film, to be perfectly honest, was really not that scary at all. Those few scares that we do get also take a long while to get started, and only begins well into the film, but while your watching it, you probably wont be able to notice this until the end of the film, as you are more likely expecting genuinely scary bits throughout the film - I know I did. All the scares basically feel like they are just around the corner, sudden but short-lived and very few, but when they do suddenly come around the corner, they are enough to make you want to hopefully jump, which is always a good thing. The anticipation is purposefully built up whether or not something happens, you find out for yourself, but on the whole, putting taking everything into account, it doesn't feel too disappointing and you just needs a lot of patience. The type of held-back scares just goes with the style of the "The Woman in Black" - I think the story may be more to do with giving you an overall lingering chilling and haunting sort of experience rather than just scaring you plain out of your wits. This film is no "Insidious" which I did think this film will compare to, but then again, it was still good fun. Despite the various clichés and very brief scares in the film, I think it was just too easy to forgive it is scare flaws. Overall the film is horrifying and chilling, only just not scary enough.
* Theme/atmosphere: I think this films atmosphere is more central than the actual frights, even though that might not be the intention. I like atmospheric movies, ones that look really beautiful, with its amazing set and features and really sucks you into the whole feel of the film. Since "Woman in Black" is supposed to be set in Edwardian times, it gives off that very traditional and classic environmental feel to it. If you don't watch the film for its scary moment, then you must watch it for its incredible ambience, photography and the overall style and look of the film. The theme within the film is pretty much what you would expect of a horror film set in that particular era - these traditional types of features that dominate the film, like the gothic huge dark haunted mansion, a dark and moody marshland, the thick mist and local ghosts, weird suicides, and you cant have a horror movie without graveyards and we also get creepy wind-up toys in the bedroom which I don't think wont freak ANY kid out, strange kind of evil possession, and a scary rocking chair!!! The film also just has a really greyish and blue tone and look to it, which goes so well with its haunting theme it aims for - I don't think I remember seeing any bright colours in any of the scenes, apart from maybe the small scene with some blood and the fire and candles that we get to see a lot of.
* Special/visual effects: Although we don't get full blown special effects in a film like this, there is still so much going on. The special effects are subtle and really just revolve around most spooky house sorts of special effects, like darkened corridors where it seems as though something is coming towards you, ghosts peering out of old windows or hand prints on windows that fade. The best of the more fancy visual effects was probably a house burning down, marshes that looked seriously dangerous and scenes on the train track. The ghost that we see appear in the film actually looks really scary combined with the way she appears in the film, but we don't get to see it that often - I think this is probably why it feels even more frightening or intimidating because we never actually get a chance to get too familiar with her. There is one scene were we see her move across the room towards Arthur (or the screen) - this is probably the scariest scene of the film, and with the CGI used for her movement which was great I would liked more of that, just to keep you on edge. But everything else to do with her ghostly looks is really down to the visual effect of make-up, which is convincible and really not over-done either. Along with these typical horror movie effects of things like ghosts or dead people, the atmospheric CGI effects that I mentioned earlier, really made the story of the film feel that bit more haunting, like the rain, the mist, the overcast cloudy skies and the scenes that were supposed to be shot in the night.
* Audio: The sound is nicely done and sophisticated - whether it is the musical background sounds or the sound effects of the setting or movement that help create the realistic elements and help make you JUMP! You cant have a big haunted mansion without squeaky doors and creaky floor boards, a rocking chairs that thuds and creaks on the floorboards, the sounds of the crazy bizarre toys after they have been wound up, and also the silence before something big is going to happen which is really effective as well. The musical sounds are perfect for this kind of film, from its looming chords and violins that make your skin crawl most times, to the screeching sounds or the tone that accumulates to go with the visual horror, and really goes to enhance the amount of terror we are supposed to feel during a particular event in the film, whether or not it was something scary or not, we are still likely to be holding on in fear thinking something is definitely round the corner! Without these kind of sounds chords and horrifying tones, the visual horror probably just wouldn't work as well as it should. The rest of the film, when not shot in the house, sounds like something from a drama of the era, in a way - it definitely did give of a mystery drama sort of feel to it, which again goes perfectly with what this film is trying to offer.
* The ending: In a strange sort of way, the ending is not that impressive, and neither is it my favourite part of the film, but is it not one which you will forget either and say "remind me - what happened in the end again??!...". It did feel as though that last scene was taken out of a different story altogether, but then again, I suppose it went with the kind of classiness of the film as a whole - so why then go for something o.t.t., when you can have beautiful instead!! And I think it WAS a beautiful ending except from the very final scene involving the ghost, as the film closes, and we get our final chill, which may suggest the possibility of a return of the whole episode again - but I doubt this film could ever have a part two to it anyway.
Overall: Worth watching?
I do think "Woman in Black" is one film that is worth watching, but then again I wouldn't necessarily go out of my way to watch it twice either because too be honest, not much actually happens in the film and I would spent most of my time waiting for the best bits to come up and get bored with the rest of it - I would pretty much remember how the film goes, including all the sudden jumpy bits, and all the fun could be lost for me.
The acting, including Daniel Radcliffe's acting was incredible, so just ignore all the people who say he did not do a good job playing the role of Arthur Kipps, and those who keep referring to Harry Potter all the time, because he does a stunning job of playing his part in this film - you just got to watch it to see how it all falls into place. I could not fault it.
Overall I think the "Woman in Black" will appeal to all horror movie fans, and also people who don't really like horror films either. Yes, there are a couple of scary moments, but the whole production of the film, from the effects to the acting, is something fans of all genres will really be able to appreciate and enjoy and make their own view on. So even though this film might not be one of those that, that will remain on the top of my imaginary list of best film of this year for very long, the point is that it actually is up there on the top of my list for now, and that is a fantastic thing in itself!
I did like the film, but I was going to rate it a 3 out of 5, because I expected to be a film as scary as "Insidious". But it really wasn't - and I got over it, and found it pretty enjoyable all the same. So I more appropriately rated it 4 out 5 instead.
As a lot of you have heard, there has been a huge hype about the woman in black, and honestly; I have no idea why. The initial 'hype' didn't even revolve around the fact that daniel radcliffe was the lead role, but rather than how apparently this film scared the hell out of a lot of people.
From my personal point of view I didn't find this film absolutely amazing and I'm in no rush to watch it again or suggest anyone to watch it however it was neither a bad film. The ending merely ruined what could have been an amazing plot with more thought behind it, but ended so abruptly it gave the impression that there'll be a follow up movie (whether they choose to or not the ending pretty much opened up the possibility of this with how blunt it was). It didn't leave me crossing my fingers for a sequel.
you kind of find some sort of predictability with most movies and rarely find ones with unique plots and endings, however this one did have an obvious plot - Mr Dan Rad the dapper young man goes to a village unaware of why everyone is so hostile and unwilling for his company and he ignores their persistence in him leaving and heading back to london and instead investigates, finds what he's looking for to stop the hauntings and surprise surprise, it doesn't work and more people die. (*ahem* drag me to hell, sleepy hollow)
I'd personally rate it 3.5 out of 5. It wasn't terrible, the beginning took too long to get into the actual story and then everything seemed to happen so suddenly and then BAM! the movie was over. I feel like everything was rushed and that there was too much fuss over this movie, I'm still trying to figure out why people labelled it as terrifying as it didn't even make me jump.
I thought Daniel's acting was mediocre and I felt that this film didn't reflect the initial story line as well as it could have been; as I mentioned - the beginning took a long time to unfold and explain itself as to why Mr Rad was there in the first place. I found it awfully bizarre seeing him playing the role of what seemed to be a middle aged man as he still looks like a teenager. In the film he has a child, whom eventually plays a part in the whole side of it. (I won't blow it for you, I'll let you watch)
I'm hugely critical of all scary/gory/horror and macabre style films and it doesn't usually take a lot to impress me providing there's an adequate plot (or adequate humour or action sequences to dismiss the poorly laid out story line) and this film had neither. It was hugely based on dialogue and involved very little events until the very, very end of the film.
My advice is to not believe the hype. It aint what it's made out to be and I was disappointed after hearing so many positive comments about it - where have these people been living?! It's shocking.
Hammer Horror gets a modern makeover? Harry Potter does spooky goings on that AREN'T suitable for kids? Hmmm, let's see. I saw the trailer for this and was initially very impressed. I really like the occasional horror thriller come mystery, and this seemed to be right up my street. Not knowing anything about the book it's based on by Susan Hill didn't affect me one way or the other, but the dark atmospheric nature of the film up front tickled my fancy and made me want to give it a go.
I have to say I wasn't disappointed. The plot is somewhat simple and not unfamiliar to start with. Daniel Radcliffe, forever to be known as The Boy Who Lived, takes teh starring role. Leaving his son with the nanny, widowed lawyer Arthur Kipps is sent north from London to see through the paperwork of the will of a recently deceased lady in a sinister village and an even more sinister house on the marshes. When he gets there, he is shunned by the villagers, who make every attempt to turn him on his heel and send him straight home. All except one, local landowner Sam Daily, who aids Arthur getting to the house and then sorting the mess there.
And this is where it all gets a bit sinister. Aside from the nervous nature of the villagers and the hostility, there is a 'presence' at the house that is instantly very creepy for us as viewers. A mysterious figure keeps appearing, and although Kipps sees this figure only intermittently, the stories from the village and the strange noises are enough for him to flirt with giving up and going home. Only the threat of losing his job and not being able to provide for his son keeps him going. It's a thin thread of nerves waiting to be shattered.
What I liked about this film, and about the adaptation from Jane Goldman and direction from James Watkins was the pace. It's a very slow film, but the music and noises and lack of dialogue make it the perfect speed. It's definitely a visual film, and in this respect it's probably why I enjoyed watching Daniel Radcliffe in the main role as Kipps. I found his vocal acting to be rather wooden at times in the Harry Potter films, if I'm honest, and I wasn't sure how well he would do as the main role in a film which doesn't really feature many other characters. However, having spent many a year on a broomstick being chased by Bludgers and evil Dark Lords, Radcliffe's facial acting and timing is certainly an impressive feature of his talents.
His acting is very solid and I thought his performance of the role was extremely believable. You soon forget about Harry Potter and see him as Kipps, while the other roles in the film stand equally as unique despite the occasional recognisable actor or actress. Yet the acting sort of plays second fiddle to the tale and the visual effects. Watkins take Goldman's screenplay and makes the most of it, using reflection and light and focus in near perfection at times, the sudden yet slight movements in the corner of your screen or a quick shape shifting across a narrow angle in a mirror all add to a tense atmosphere indeed, one which soon gets you forgetting about anything else other than the screen you're watching. The steady strings in the music are haunting at times and make the atmosphere even darker.
In terms of constant horror, the Hammer name relies here on the occasional glimpse, unexplained happening, moving furniture and the threat of something terrible turning up on screen more than actual in your face horror. However, even when you know something is about to happen (and there are a few moments like this), you still jump quite a bit in the film. I was very surprised to see that this is a 12A, and would have rated it as a 15 easily. Perhaps I'm getting a bit soft and it's more about the jumpy nature of the film as opposed to the gory gruesome horror films, but I thought this was one of the scariest in terms of the unknown since I last watched Doctor Who episodes with the Weeping Angels (freaky stuff!).
Either way, this is an atmospheric and patient film that I thoroughly enjoyed. It's not without its flaws, and the way the plot was adapted didn't really leave much for an elaborate or even satisfactory ending as far as I was concerned, and it was all over a bit too quick once the end was in sight. The surprise twist was a bit predictable, although I didn't feel it detracted from my enjoyment of the film on the whole. I was impressed by Radcliffe above all else, and if there's one thing I shall take from the film it's the mature approach he and director Watkins took in delivering an impressive film worthy of the Hammer name.
The Woman in Black began in 1983 as a fictional book of 173 pages written by Susan Hill, which sees main character Arthur Kipps (a young solicitor from London) sent to Crythin Gifford, where he must attend the funeral of Mrs. Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House. His business trip takes a turn though, when he becomes haunted by mysterious sounds and images.
The book was adapted into a stageplay in 1987 and was very well received, so well received in fact that it still being shown in London today, making it the second longest-running play in the history of the West End.
A film for television was also created based on the book in 1989, with a screenplay written by the famous Nigel Kneale.
This particular film however is another adaptation of the book, and was released in February 2012, with a screenplay written by Jane Goldman, the woman who also brought us Kick-Ass and Stardust. Directed by James Watkins, the film starred Daniel Radcliffe (most famously known for playing Harry Potter) and ran for 95 minutes.
Heres a few little facts from the Internet Movie Database about the film:
Writer: Jane Goldman
Director: James Watkins
Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer, Ciarán Hinds
Production Company: Hammer Films
Budget: $17,000,000 (estimated)
Storyline: A young lawyer, struggling with work after the death of his wife, is sent to a remote village to settle the estate of a deceased eccentric woman who owns an English manor. The village residents want him to leave as they are trying to conceal a deadly secret. But he refuses, and soon discovers that the house of his client is haunted by the vengeful ghost of a woman dressed in black.
My thoughts on the film. -
The adaptation from page to screen meant it inevitable that they would have to change a number of things in the original story to have more of an impact when seen on screen. The story felt a little dumbed down compared to the novel and the stageplay, but that does not mean that I did not enjoy it. The story still worked, and Daniel Radcliffe played the part really well, although the children watching in the cinema still felt the need to shout Harry Potter jokes throughout! He does however seem a little too young to be seen as a lawyer realistically, no effect on his actual acting ability though. I did not find that the film really scared me, I could recommend better horrors if that's what you're looking for, but I did find that it made me jump in my seat a number of times. It was very good at building suspense, and the cinematography, settings and costumes all came together nicely to create a believable little village for the story to be set in.
Personally, I really enjoyed the film, but having watched it on both a large cinema screen with surround sound and my very own 30" television, I would recommend that it is seen on the larger screen with the correct surround sound system, as I felt it was much less jumpy and scary watched on the smaller screen.
If I have one suggestion for this film it is definatly- have a spare pair of underpants at the ready lol !! I have to say when I first went to see this film I wasn't at all to hopefull about it, I've never been a big Harry Potter fan having been extremly put off by the poor acting in the first film, and simply expected the same from Daniel Radcliffe in this but. However I was plesently suprised by just how great an actor he really is. In my opinion he definatly made the film more worth while. There were a number of scenes which relyed purely on no speech and just great acting to tell the story which added to the pure horror aspect of the film.
The main overview of the plot( not wanting to give too much away) is based around Arthur Kips a widowed lawyer and single father on the verge of losing his job, finds himself on an assignment to a secluded village where the inhabitants are all living in fear from the 'woman in black' a ghost who makes children kill themselves. Kips takes it upon himself to stop her in her tracks by exploring her background which results in a very surprising end twist.
The film is very dreary and in points you find yourself getting lost in the film, focusing on one point knowing that a 'jump' out moment is just around the corner making you scared out of your wits. And I must admit being a bit of a wimp I found myself either closing my eyes or plugging my ears to save from having my nerves shot. The only thing I would question about this is if the film could still create the moments away from the cinema surround sound as loud volume is key to making these moments stand out.
One thing I found quite unusual was that the film is only rated 12a? Believing this to be a horror story I expected it to have a higher parental guidence attached to it. However after watching it I realised that this was just as good old fashioned Hammer Horror film, which is quite rare in the current society which seems to be fixated on using gore and blood to make a film scary.
Good points to the movie= great jump out moments, great plot storyline, good acting and acceptable to watch with children(although not young children) and a good end twist
Bad points= at times it was confusing mainly due to struggling to understand why the whole town is against Kips being there, the end was good and did have a twist but left a bit of a loose end with the woman in black, and also would question the jump out scene being scary away form the cinema
Overall view on the Woman in Black is that it is worth watching, it would make a suitable choice for a family film night as it is enjoyable for all.
This is a film only review.
When you are in a relationship with someone from a very different background, in my case London suburb vs Santiago suburb, one of the joys of the internet, and let's face it there are many, can be the sharing of different films and tv series that you loved throughout your years. So far, I've been treated to Chilean Telethon and Vina Del mar (Annual Music Festival - (think Live Aid without the charity) Whilst i was watching Supergran, pressgang and grange hill, 'er indoors was watching a group of scantily clad dancers tripping the light fantastic to a variety of exotic and dance styles, the common dominator of which being that they would all receive a barrage of complaints should they be shown pre-watershed on Factor X, or whatever the kids call it. Anyway, the point I am making is that the Woman in Black was one of those films that stood out when I was a kid and when I downloaded it to show and share a 'scary film from my youth' Saturday evening this was the film I chose. She wasn't very impressed. The film didn't stand the test of time too well and in an age of gore and effects the film from the 80's looked its age. With this in mind, I was excited to see a remake starring Daniel Radcliffe - yes, Harry Potter himself, and set about watching the film at the earliest opportunity laden with high expectations.
The Woman in Black is the name of the name of the 1983 novel by Susan Hill that was adapted for the screen by Jane Goldman (Wossy's missus), directed by James Watkins (Eden Lake) and made by Hammer Studios (British Horror Legends). In a time when gore and disturbance reign supreme in the cinematic world of horror, films such as The Woman in Black, The Others and The Orphanage stand out because they rely on old fashioned suspense and a good creepy twist or two. Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) is a young lawyer recovering from the death of his wife who died whilst giving birth to his son. Having been sent by his employers to some far-flung village to sort out the papers of the recently deceased owner Mrs Drablow of Eel Marsh, a big old fashioned scary gothic house accessible only when the tide permits, Kipps embarks upon a journey off frightening discovery.
I want to start the critique by saying that there is much to be admired in the exemplary cinematography in The Woman in Black and credit is due to Tim Maurice-Jones, a close associate of Guy Ritchie - they worked on Lock, Stock..., Snatch and Revolver - for providing a distinctly well shot movie dripping with classic Roger Corman-esqe creepiness. Maurice-Jones who was also responsible for the cinematography for the critically acclaimed and imho a visually and a memorably stunning White Lightning (2009,) captures the dark forbiddance that oozes from the eerie Eel Marsh
If you are a fan of the old school classic boo-jump horrors, you will not be disappointed; plenty to make you jump off your seat and a good few moments to get the 'ol ticker working as you follow the Kipps character unravel a series of mysterious and deadly events. Radcliffe puts in a sterling performance and if this film is anything to go by, he looks more than capable of shaking off those Harry Potter chains. Ciaran Hyndes puts in a good solid turn as Simon Daily, the first car owner of the county and whose wife - played admirably by Janet McTeer - has gone mad following the death of their son. The plot unravels at a good pace, if only a bit too slow at the beginning and the momentum and the suspense gather nicely towards an atmospheric end that differs from the book. This has proven to be pretty decisive but without wanting to give anything away that would detract from your enjoyment, the ending has been 'Hollywood-ized' a little but to any length that detracts noticeably from the film. True, the ending could've had more 'oomph' but this was a Hammer film; gothic creepy films with the odd good shock and some things that will catch your fright, not a modern-day gory horror that will make your stomach turn.
There is plenty to like about this old-fashioned boo-jump movie; well shot, well acted and well told. It doesn't disturb you like some horrors but you leave the film with a faster beating heart. The special effects were a little hit and miss but that was only highlighted by the excellent cinematography. A good film but not a great one, it is best enjoyed with a full or as near to full cinematic experience as possible, to really get the most out of the limited (there could have been more and they could have been more powerful) shock moments but for an evenings entertainment it wasn't bad at all.
Verdict - A good film well made by the bastions of British horror - Hammer Films with solid acting and great locations. The Woman in Black offers something different to the modern day horror film and although this is not going to go down as one of the very best 'boo-jump' films, it is certainly watchable enough, with an appeal for all ages (except those too young!)
Runtime 95 mins