The Woman In Black (201) Directed by James Watkins. Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer and Ciarán Hinds. IMDB says: “A young lawyer travels to a remote village where he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals.”
Daniel Radcliffe takes on his first post-Potter role in this early-1900’s-era ghost horror flick. He plays the role of Arthur Kipps, a struggling lawyer and widowed father, as he takes on the job of reviewing a deceased client’s paperwork in her rather large and scary looking estate. Upon his arrival in her small village it is apparent that something is off with its residents who warn him against visiting the estate. He obviously ignores their advice and finds that his assignment includes dealing with a rather haunted property and a female ghost with a nasty vendetta.
The buzz around this film is how Radcliffe carries a movie outside the Harry Potter franchise, and I was pleased with the outcome. His character had enough to set him apart although the setting was a bit reminiscent of the Potter world. The genre allowed him to stretch his performance outside of what you’re used to seeing from him. I only wish that he had chosen a different film to make this debut. To see him in a more modern story would have completely changed the image that has been engrained in our heads over the past decade.
The movie itself met my expectations but they weren’t very high to begin with. While there wasn’t much to directly point out as faults, the story as a whole failed to add anything new to the genre. Plot elements and visuals have been depicted across many different horror films I’ve seen. It builds a nice suspense–relying on dark shadows, creepy dolls, and jump scares a bit too often for my taste–but the payoff involved nothing particularly exciting to revel in. I am so over the way ghosts have been depicted with the CGI-ed faces and fast floating movements. Where the ghost special effects may have proved lackluster, the cinematography was actually quite impressive, with many beautiful landscapes and stylized set pieces throughout.
With the meager pickings in theaters lately I wouldn’t call this movie a waste of money, but it could definitely wait for home viewing. Preferably late at night with all the lights out.