The Woman in Black
Bottom Line: Harry, the Ministry has deemed it acceptable to cast the Killing Curse upon The Woman in Black.
Directed by: James Watkins
Starring: Ciaran Hinds, Daniel Radcliffe, Ellisa Walker-Reid, Emma Shorey, Janet McTeer, Jessica Raine, Misha Handley, Molly Harmon, Roger Allam, Sophie Stuckey
As I watched THE WOMAN IN BLACK, a thought occurred to me: Why haven’t I given up on modern horror movies yet? The answer came, but not all too quickly. It’s because of the few horror films (i.e. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and INSIDIOUS) that actually manage to put the genre to an effective use. It’s sad that actor Daniel Radcliffe has officially retired from his recurring performances as Harry Potter, yet as we watch the film, we’re hoping that Radcliffe still had his wand to put this boring film out of its misery. It’s as if the writer conceived the idea after watching several “ghost story” horror films. The end product is basically THE OTHERS, except it gives no regard to entertaining its audience and has few variations that it can claim as its own. It’s quite probable that THE WOMAN IN BLACK does have a few new twists to offer, but I could not name a single one of them if my life depended on it, because none of them were terribly appealing or memorable.
Set during World War I, THE WOMAN IN BLACK tells of a British lawyer named Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), who travels to a village where a ghost of a “woman in black” is haunting residents. The story would be interesting and somewhat deep, had we not seen it several other times. The film is hardly anything more than a ninety-six-minute cliché. If you’ve seen any horror movie, or know the genre well, you’ll likely find this a very predictable film. The cinematography (that is, when it’s not too fluorescent to fit in a horror film), ominous music, and build-up on quote-unquote “tension” gives every attempted scare away before it even strikes. Due to this critical lack of fear presented, the film feels like an overly quiet, exhaustingly dull drama, only with intermittent screaming in the distance. I can’t imagine a horror fan enjoying the film. I can’t imagine a non-horror fan enjoying it, either. Nor can I imagine one having any desire to see it. Knowing how dreadful THE WOMAN IN BLACK is, why should anyone have any desire to see it?