Based on Susan Hill’s 1983 novel, lawyer Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) travels to a remote village to put a deceased woman’s affairs in order. It doesn’t take Kipps long to realize that the town is very inhospitable, as even the motel owner refuses to give him a room. He is advised to leave and is told that his work is no longer needed. But with his job on the line Kipps is determined to finish what he came to do. Inexplicable accidents and suicides soon begin to happen, and Kipps learns that the reason for the village’s abnormal behavior is fear of a vengeful ghost.
There’s only one character who doesn’t fear this evil spirit, and that’s Sam Daily (Ciaran Hinds), a skeptic who thinks everyone in town is full of foolish superstitions. Once he finally gives in, Daily agrees to help Kipps put the soul of the woman in black to rest by finding the body of her dead son, before she causes the death of more children.
In this chilling tale, Radcliffe breaks away from Hogwarts as he takes on the role of Arthur Kipps, a young father who still grieves for his beloved wife who died at childbirth four years earlier. Although several Harry Potter jokes and references came to my mind during the film (and I know I wasn’t the only one as I heard some of the audience shout out spells and HP quotes) seeing Radcliffe play someone else besides the legendary Harry Potter was not as strange as I thought it would be. After 11 years of Harry Potter, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to see Radcliffe as anything other than that, but I actually really enjoyed it. There’s no doubt that Radcliffe is a very talented actor, and his performance as this gloomy character proves it yet again. Rotten Tomato critics are torn in between with a 62% rating, which is pretty good for how harsh they can be.
The setting takes you back to the old-school horrors of eerie haunted houses and corner of your eye thrills that have your heart pounding with anticipation and fear. I don’t recommend The Woman in Black if you’re looking for a mindless scary film though. The chills in this movie are fun and spooky, they’re not meant to scare you senseless and provoke sleepless nights, there’s more to the story than that. It’s also not a feel–good movie, so don’t go in expecting to come out feeling motivated, a twist ending will take care of that.
The Woman in Black is already haunting Dallas theaters.
It is rated PG-13
Running time is approximately 1 hour and 35 minutes.
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© 2012 Sandra Perez, All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in any way without prior permissions from the author or Clarity Digital Group LLC d/b/a modenook.com