Saturday, February 4, 2012

Movie Review: The Woman in Black

This is a guest review by my lovely wife.

I have to wonder what the audience thought was in store for them when they showed up for The Woman in Black. Being scared in our day an age is so different than it was in the Golden Age of suspense with Hitchcock and Hammer. When I was deciding whether or not I wanted to see it for this blog, I watched a featurette “Ghost Story” on IMDB with different people involved in the film talking about it. As soon as director James Watkins said, “It’s about what’s in the corner of the eye, what you can’t quite see.” I was intrigued. When he finished with, “We want to make scares that really linger with people, real chills that when they walk out of the cinema, they stay with them slightly.” I knew I had to see this film.

My main problem with a lot of modern “scary movies” is that they don’t make us feel for our protagonist and The Woman in Black takes care of that almost right away. The introduction to Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) and his son has you worried about what will happen to them throughout the film. The flashbacks and daydreams that fill you in on his character are perfectly placed and well done. The supporting cast is amazing and even though most of them don’t get backstories, you still feel for them and their families as well.

For a true ghost story, there’s got to be a reason for the ghost to haunt, and this story does not disappoint. Where a lot of movies just scare you to scare you, the movie’s namesake has a really good reason, to her at least, to be terrorizing the town. The little clues Arthur finds as he is going through all the papers at her sister’s mansion are a very nice touch and when he finally finds her reason for haunting the mansion the story doesn’t just end neatly and happily.

As can often be expected, a lot of the scary parts are in the trailers and commercials to the point that you are expecting them and they don’t startle you like they should. This isn’t your average scary movie that has you jumping in your seat but instead keeps you wanting to look over your shoulder. It’s the unexpected things that aren’t even typical in horror any more that get to you and keep you on edge. This also makes the “scary parts” you haven’t seen yet even more chilling and is what really sets it apart. Yeah, it’s a period piece, everyone has accents and some things had the audience giggling. But do what they did in a modern setting, and you might be able to revive true horror films from the graves scary movies dug them. And no matter where or when this is set, you still aren’t going to sleep after seeing it. Unless you sleep in a room with no windows or mirrors, that is. And that’s going to keep this girl coming back for more, no matter how many red bulls I have to drink the morning after.

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