Newest Review: ... script some much needed emotional impact. Without it, things feel rather empty and superficial. There is nothing wrong with the basic sto... more
I ain't afraid of no ghosts
The Woman in Black (DVD)
Member Name: cha97mw
The Woman in Black (DVD)
Advantages: amazing acting, shot in a way that is very atmospheric and moody
Disadvantages: not really good at making you jump, a bit lacking in pace
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.
Summary: A very convincing Daniel Radcliffe kept me watching this.