Believe it or not, The Woman in Black is actually a good movie that has some creative scares in it. Fight me if you don’t agree.
Please note that this movie is based on a novel written by Susan Hill and was adapted into a movie prior to this one. My review will not be covering a novel to film adaptation of the original movie as I have not read the book or seen the original film.
There’s a number of reasons as to why I like this particular movie. Namely, the first one is that Daniel Radcliffe portrays the story’s protagonist, Mr. Arthur Kipps. The Woman in Black was one of Daniel’s first movies after the end of the Harry Potter series. Having been a fan of Harry Potter all of my life and having grown up watching Daniel Radcliffe, I was excited to see what other work he could do. I enjoyed seeing him take on this adult role and took delight in the fact that I was finally able to see a new side to his acting.
Daniel plays a widowed father in the early 20th century. He must leave his home in London and travel to a remote village on behalf of his law firm. There he stays in a haunted house and must survive and put a halt to the murders of innocent children.
This movie takes a unique spin on what other horror movies try to aim for. Unlike Mama or Silent Hill, The Woman in Black’s protagonist is a husband and a father. Admittedly he’s not a very good father, but that can largely be attested to the time period in correlation to how he became a widow. Suffice to say, seeing him interact with Eel Marsh House–the house where The Woman in Black resides–takes on a refreshing notion that fathers can be just as vulnerable as mothers in horror movies.
He’s not insensitive as one might expect him to be but rather fights to save The Woman in Black’s soul by bringing her the remains of her son. He’s determined, and his knee-jerk reaction to the ghost is not to fight her. It’s a motif that I’m used to seeing in female roles like The Ring where the mother takes on a more active role in discovering the ghost’s motives. We are able to relate to Daniel and understand where he’s coming from as a character, making him very much real. He misses his wife, loves his child in the best way he can, and is sensitive to the innocence of other children around him. He tries to become a hero of sorts in the film and works feverishly to save the children that suffer ill fates in front of him, showing both compassion and a paternal instinct that doesn’t often pop up in movies these days.
Additionally, the movie comes up with a few good ways to scare you as you watch. I hate it when jump scares are unimaginative. The Woman in Black offers some sneaky ones that I’d hate to spoil. Just trust me when I say the movie had me wagging my finger at it a few times while saying, “Oh, ya got me.”
What I appreciated the most was the portrayal of the ghost. She’s never something you see clearly, but rather a shrouded figure that stands in the background. She’s never shown actively doing anything, but rather she simply stands off in the distance, her black veil covering her face and her dress often causing her to blend in with the background of the house.
This movie takes ghosts back to a more traditional place where they aren’t so much these creatures that can physically harm you, but rather something that you see out of the corn of your eye.
If you haven’t seen this movie I suggest giving it a watch as it is a pretty good Halloween movie to enjoy.