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The Woman in Black Reviews

Our Review

Haunted house chiller goes for old-school creeps

Adam Bub, MovieFix
Three pale English girls in floral smocks have a tea party and play with their dolls. Innocent enough, right? This is a horror movie, so the warning bells should ring immediately that their fate won't be a happy one.

So goes the opening scene of The Woman in Black, a bleak Edwardian-era supernatural chiller that sticks staunchly to the cliches of classic haunted house horror.

Young lawyer Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) is assigned to take care of the matters of a recently deceased woman's estate. He leaves his four-year-old son Joseph (Radcliffe's real-life godson, Misha Handley) in London to visit the isolated village where the forebodingly named Eel Marsh House stands.

Locals Sam (Ciaran Hinds) and his wife Elizabeth (Janet McTeer) welcome him, but other villagers are less friendly. It's not long before Arthur realises a mysterious woman in black has had a terrifying effect on the town's children.

Yes, it's an unashamedly old-school ghost story based on a 1983 horror fiction novel, adapted by classic scaremongers, Hammer film studios. But there are at least six jump-in-your-seat moments that should send your popcorn – and heart rate – flying.

The tension is masterfully executed, especially in one sequence involving Arthur and Sam searching a muddy marsh at night. But a large chunk of the film is spent rolling out red herrings, like the relentless "don't open the door" moments where Arthur inevitably turns the doorknobs. When it's not tedious, it's desperately uptight.

Radcliffe holds it together with a virtually wordless, but still expressive performance. His post-Harry Potter career isn't off to a bad start, but riskier projects should show off more of what he's capable of than The Woman in Black does.

Read our exclusive interview with Daniel Radcliffe about what he'd never do on film

Your Reviews

Padraig Colman
Padraig Colman
It's a good thing that Radcliffe's performance is "virtually wordless" because he seems incapable of speaking properly. A speech therapist should have been employed to cure his impediment.
I think Daniel did a wonderful job. I was sceptical to go too movies with him (Daniel Radcliff) as the star because I thought I would just think "Harry Potter, Harry Potter, Harry Potter" the whole time, but I surprisingly didn't. If you like supernatural, defiantly recommend this movie.
saw this last night. and actually quite enjoyed it... old fashioned scary at times without loads of blood, or gore. liked the darkness of it, the bleakness added to the story..
Summary: The Woman in Black places Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) in the shoes of the recent widowed lawyer Arthur Kipps, who travel to Crythin Gifford, a small country town filled with dark secrets . Arthur's presence stirs up tension amidst the superstitous townfolk as he tends to the affairs of the recently deceased owner of Eel Marsh House. Unknowingly, Arthur awakens the malevolent spirit of a mysterious woman dressed in black and it begins to haunt him. From the beginning of the film, the mood is set - something is horribly wrong. From the beginning of the film, the quality is set - this movie will be great. From the very first shot of Daniel Radcliffe's face, I was able to tell that the acting was going to be fantastic, and it was. The sheer amount of grief pouring from his expressive features holds the film together in what makes its relatability all the more awesome. ;) In addition to the wondefully effective sense of intimacy you receive when watching the film, the scares will have you clinging onto the arm rests of your seat as you wait for another subtle ghostly appearance from the woman in black in the background. The woman's ability to scare through subtle materialization (coming into sight, barely visible in the background or in the reflections of windows and mirrors), use of dull thuds or screeches on the stairs, scenery in the house (did that wind up toy move? Is that a face I saw in the shadows? That damn rocking chair is moving, damn it!!!!), silent whispers and shadows manages to keep an eerie feeling in the cinema the entire time. All in all, the film was a fantastic horror movie that will leave fans of the genre with soil in their shorts and a satisfied, but uneasy, smile on their face. 4/5 STARS :D!!
Jessa Collins
Jessa Collins
This scared the crap outta me!! I loved it =D Perfect horror movie with a feeling of "I don't want to look!" but you do. Great movie! -Jessa.

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