The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

The Woman in Black

The Woman In Black: An Occasionally Scary Ghost Story

  • Ciarán HindsDaniel Radcliffe...
  • DramaHorror
  • James watkins
written by
Yasmin Shehab
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The Woman In Black: An Occasionally Scary Ghost Story

Arthur
Kipps (Radcliffe) is still depressed over his wife’s passing four years ago and
his work is suffering as a result. As a last chance, his boss gives him an
assignment to take care of some business in a remote village; he’s to deal with
a mountain of paperwork needed to put a manor on the market – one that’s owner
recently died and which the locals don’t seem very eager to sell. Undeterred by
the very hostile, unhelpful locals, Kipps begins to work at the house and there
he starts to see the ghost of the eponymous woman in black. He slowly pieces
the puzzle together, figuring out her identity and the relationship between her
and the deaths, both past and present, of many of the children in the
village. 

The
film’s selling point seems to be Daniel Radcliffe, who stars in his first role post
Harry Potter, which is great except
that he happens to be the weakest part of the film. He’s not bad per se, he’s
just woefully miscast. He plays a depressed father to a four-year old whose mother
died during childbirth. The thing is, Radcliffe doesn’t look old enough to be a
father let alone to a four-year old, and the way he interacts with his onscreen
child is more reminiscent of a sibling relationship, or one between a
babysitter and their ward, rather than that of a father and child. Other than
that, he does a good job portraying a man grappling with feelings of guilt and
forced to be in a place that reminds him of his deepest fear at every turn.

What’s
really different about this film, at least compared to newer horror productions,
is that it allows for breathing space. The film doesn’t shy away from long,
quiet shots that aim to set up the atmosphere. These scenes lull you into a
false sense of complacency before boom! A shrieking head pops out, or a wind-up
toy suddenly starts moving. Thankfully, the screaming humans, running around
frantically, are kept to a minimum. The film is also filled with children who get
up and quietly commit suicide. The opening scene – which is of three young
girls playing – shows them as they get up, cross over to the window and in sync,
silently throw themselves out of it. As beautiful as it is, it is also disturbing
– it sets up the film’s quietly eerie tone very well.

For
the most part though, this is a run of the mill ghost story where floorboards
creak, doors slam at their own accord and shadowy figures pop out, scare the daylights
out of everyone then disappear again. There’s nothing in it that we haven’t
seen a billion times before and while it isn’t scary – not by a long shot – it
will make you jumpy; the occasionally over the top score makes sure of that. The Woman in Black brings nothing new to the table but it makes better use of the generic
ghost tricks than most films of this ilk.

Like This? Try

1408, Sleepy Hollow, The Shining, The Others.

360 Tip

Radcliffe’s son in the film happens to be his real-life godson. He was chosen to make their onscreen father-son relationship seem more authentic.

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