Gerald Wright's Movie Coverage
THE WOMAN IN BLACK
(A Mulher de Negro)
Directed by: James Watkins
Running time: 95 min.
Release date: February 3, 2012
Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller, Adaptation and Remake
Distributor: CBS Films
The Woman In Black is a period piece film adaptation based on the 1982 novel by the same title by Susan Hill. It is also a movie remake from a 1989 gothic horror television production and a radio series. The classic story is of a young lawyer struggling to contest a vengeful ghosts that reeks havoc on its townspeople.
Daniel Radcliffe stars as the young lawyer Arthur Kipps in this classic ghost story . It's a chilling tale of a menacing spector haunting a small English town. Arthur is a lawyer vigorously trying to get ahead in his profession because he is a widower and father of a toddler son. Arthur receives an assignment to settle the affairs of an estate left by a mysterious dead woman, Mrs. Alice Dablow of Eel Marsh House. Arthur must leave his son Joseph (Misha Handley, Daniel Radcliffe's real life God-Son) with his nanny (Jessica Raine) and travel far away to a town in the windswept marshes.
The setting in this period piece horror movie is a house that stands at the end of the causeway, wreathed in fog and mystery, but Arthur Kipps is unaware of the tragic secrets that lie hidden behind its sheltered windows. This is a good old fashion gothic style ghost story. The Woman In Black is brilliant and can be considered more of a fascinated mystery story that includes ghosts.
As Arthur arrives in this town on a routine business trip, he encounters the reluctance of its inhabitants. He is already in a state of depression since the death of his wife Stella Kipps (Sophie Stuckey). He is grief stricken and worries constantly on how he will raise his young son by himself. However, soon he horrifically finds himself haunted by a series of mysterious sounds and images such as: a rocking in a deserted nursery, shadowed images of children looking out from the attic window, a child's scream, and most terrifying of all, a ghostly woman dressed all in black. Yet, the townspeople feel that Arthur is stirring up the evil spirit of this female vengeful ghost. This ghost is a scorned woman whose curse is terrorizing the locals. These locals are played by Claran Hinds as Mr. Daily, Roger Allam, Shaun Dooley and Mary Stockley as Mr. & Mrs. Fisher, and Alexis Osborne as Victoria Hardy. Their performances supply the most effective spine chilling affect you will ever encounter. This stimulating plot is designed to frighten and to invoke our hidden fears, while captivating and entertaining at the same time in a cathartic manner.
In a interview with Daniel Radcliffe, he told me that this film is "paying tribute to the awareness of Peter Cushing", because of the production style. I asked him if he ever read this novel by Susan Hill and if he drew from the literary Arthur Kipps character? Daniel replied, "I have read the book....Yes, I draw from the character but I went off the script at times but tried to stay true to James Watkins' (director) theme......I just love costume period pieces".
The Woman In Black is a nerve rattling and highly efficient thriller. It is without the gore and blood splattering scenes often seen in many of today's horror/thriller films. It is an effectively disturbing tale that brings back the classic style of the horror genre.
FILM RATING (B+)