The Woman in Black is an atmospheric supernatural thriller whose simple ghost story may not stray far from the beaten track but still manages to deliver a well crafted, chilling experience.
Set in Edwardian times, Daniel Radcliffe plays recently widowed solicitor Arthur Kipps who is sent to Eel Marsh House near a remote coastal village in northern England to settle the estate of the late Alice Drablow. However, while tending to the deceased woman’s affairs Kipps soon discovers a ghostly woman in black has been terrifying the town’s children and driving the fearful townsfolk to their wits ends.
The location of the movie is spectacular with the abandoned mansion set on an island in the marshes accessible only by a causeway at low tide. The old fashioned frolic which ensues around the cobwebbed, creepy house is vintage and plays out like a theatrical cinematic piece. The ghostly apparition, too, was genuinely disturbing, as were the extremely loud and frequent jump scare moments in this movie.
The weakest part was the actual ghost story itself which was as thread bare as a laboratory skeleton, with no real depth behind the main character or the vengeful old ghost. No criticism of the actors though, who all put in solid performances with Daniel Radcliffe’s heartbroken face almost shimmering at times and adding greatly to the tension of the movie. Inexplicably, though, during the relatively calmer moments he looked more tense than the scenes where he’d more likely be frightened half to death (might have had something to do with years of training at Hogwarts). Ciarán Hinds, too, was excellent as the solitary friendly local character Sam Daily, as was his wife played by Janet McTeer.
Ultimately, though, with so little dialogue and actual action it is a triumph that this movie still manages to maintain a level of suspense and anticipation which keeps the audience gaping in until the tale’s very end.
Harry Potter and the Scary Ghost
- Rated: PG-13
- Drama, Horror, Thriller
- Release Date: 2/3/2012
- Directed by: James Watkins
- Starring: Ciarán Hinds, Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer, Liz White, Sophie Stuckey
- Produced by: Brian Oliver, Richard Jackson, Simon Oakes
- Written by: Jane Goldman (screenplay), Susan Hill (book)
- Studio: Alliance Films, Cross Creek Pictures, Exclusive Media Group, Film i Väst, Filmgate Films, Hammer Film Productions, Talisman Productions, UK Film Council