‘The Woman in Black’ Movie Review

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Jordan Loomis / Washburn Review

In Hollywood’s most recent horror film, “The Woman in Black,” director James Watkins gives a new twist to an old tale of misery and regret. Based on the 1983 novel by Susan Hill, also made into a stage adaptation and television miniseries, the newest adaptation to “The Woman in Black,” with new screenplay by Jane Goldman, is nothing but promising—if a good, old fashioned London horror story is what you’re looking for.

When widowed lawyer, Arthur Kipps, is sent to the small town of Crythin Gifford to put the affairs of the late Mrs. Alice Drablow to rest, he unknowingly walks into a horror story straight from the sickly marshes.  Children are locked in their houses, unable to play outside or look a mere stranger in the eye. Why? The parents of Crythin Gifford are too afraid of a local secret that they refuse to tell, leaving Arthur Kipps to wallow in the marshes himself.

Especially when he crosses the marshlands to visit the broken and worn Drablow Estate, entitled Eel Marsh House, where he sees a mysterious woman, whose sickly face and mourning attire keeps reappearing amongst the shadows. When Arthur begins to understand that the old mansion is not abandoned, the secrets begin to unfold and the identity of the mysterious woman is revealed, along with her deadly hostile habit. Children aren’t safe, neither are adults, from the woman in black.

“The Woman in Black,” like other gothic trademark horror films, stuck true to its director. Watkins (The Decent 2 and Eden Lake) succeeded in mastering the marvel of ghost stories and shadow play when the screen remains dark throughout film.

The film is both effective as a horror movie and ineffective, in my opinion, due to casting roles and ill attempts at scaring the viewers. To those who have seen the Harry Potter series, Daniel Radcliffe, who played Arthur Kipps, could not be taken seriously as a character who had a four-year-old child. Radcliffe’s youth and current famous image as the wizard who saved the world, conflicts with his image as a depressed father.

Visually, I found the film excellent. From the brilliantly planned moments that terrified any viewer to the small moments that brought the story together—Watkins did an excellent job. The only question left is are you brave enough to look into the mystery yourself? “The Woman in Black” awaits.