'The Woman In Black' - Cliched, obvious and loud

If you are the type of person who gets scared by the slightest noises, this is your film.

Ians February 18, 2012

Horror films, unlike science fiction are not supposed to be confined by logic in their illogicality, and are easier to make. Have a spooky story, get some spooky location, have an ugly looking ghost, many creaky doors, loud eerie noises, wind blowing out candles foreshadowing the malevolent ghost and a character - preferably a dog - who can see the ghost like daylight while the audience can only have glimpses. 

Sadly, exactly these cliches that make up the fabric of "The Woman In Black".

A young barrister (Radcliffe), who had lost his wife during childbirth, is asked to go to a remote village to finish the paperwork for the sale of a house. He seems to be unwelcome in the village. And before he realizes there's a creepy thing living in the house he is trying to sell, children start dying and he is blamed for this.

If you are the type of person who gets scared by the slightest noises, this is your film. It is so laden with every cliches of horror movie that you are in safe territory. But it is exactly the reason why the discerning viewer will dislike the film.

For the greatest strength of a horror film is its ability to surprise you, even if it is by a new twist to the same old trick. But if the scare-tricks have been used in the same manner over and over again previously, there isn't much left to either surprise you, and since you know where the scare is coming from, to really scare you.

What you thus have is a run-of-the mill film which gets its scene and sound correct, but messes up everything else.

Thus the main problem of the film is that it has problems too many. It's more like an ensemble of scenes that are meant to scare you and which come one after the other, at one point close to 15 minutes pass without a word being uttered on screen. The story is like the ghost in the film, somewhere there but not visible and which irritates more than it excites.

And everyone knows the reason why this film will attract global attention. Yet, Daniel Radcliffe fresh from playing a teenager in Harry Porter, tries unsuccessfully to both look like a 30 something man and one who is scared of the ghost. Obviously, now that he is all grown up and has to make his own choices, he needs to be careful about what he chooses to do.


Silver Fang | 9 years ago | Reply

@Ade And the scene where the Woman in Black is at the foot of Arthur's bed, screaming and cackling like the Wicked Witch of the West wasn't a jump scare?

Ade | 9 years ago | Reply

@Saad: Popularity is not a sign of quality - as Oscar Wilde said "popularity is the hallmark of mediocrity". The film's success merely shows that the masses have simplistic tastes, and the audience was comprised of mostly teenage Harry Potter fans. The Woman in Black lacks atmosphere and relies almost exclusively of lazy, loud jump scares. The TV version is much, much better; subtle, chilling and NOT reliant on cliched jump cuts or a silly, screaming CGI ghost.

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