Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Woman In Black (2012)

Fear 3/5
Gore 1/5
Entertainment 3/5
Creepiness 4/5

Sporting more jump scares than an amusement park thrill ride (and probably setting some records with their sheer number), The Woman in Black is a throwback to Hammer's heyday. It's nice to see the label giving us some decent gothic horror once again. Not a classic by any means but it's still pretty fun nonetheless.

Daniel 'Harry Potter' Radcliffe is a widowed lawyer (named Arthur) who's having a tough go of it as of late. His employer is skeptical of his work and his pint-sized son remarks about his constantly sullen demeanor. When his boss gives him the undesirable job of settling a woman's estate with a 'This is it or else' undertone to it, he has no choice but to accept it. And it just so happens to be way out in the middle of the English countryside.

Once he gets to his destination, he's instantly met with a coldness by the innkeeper who runs the place. He remarks that they have no record of his booking nor any open rooms. Despite his insistence on a booked room, Arthur is told that absolutely nothing is available. He's saved by a female caretaker as he's offered a bed in the establishment's attic instead. Coupled with a next day meeting where a local businessman is more than a bit obstructive when he requests to be lead out to the house and you start to get the feeling that something is amiss in this small town.

He eventually makes it out to the abandoned house later that day and before you can say 'Bob's your uncle,' he's graced with the presence of a spirit that haunts it. It's subtle at first but then we see her in the surrounding marsh in all her glory, a woman cloaked in a dark outfit complete with headdress.

Getting back into town that evening, things grow more troublesome as some of the local's kids are dying in strange ways. Thinking him the impetus, the superstitious townsfolk attempt to drive him out. But he's given temporary shelter from a local man who also befriends him. Arthur asks him to take him back out to the house for just one night where he'll work through it, uninterrupted, and in peace. The local man drops him off and it's at this point where the real fun begins.

For the next 40 min. or so, you're bombarded with a constant stream of jump scares as our apparition terrorizes him throughout the house. For some, this can feel cheap and cliched but they worked well even though they became a bit tiresome. So as his hellish night wears on, Arthur finds out why this ghoul is tormenting him and more importantly, why she's killing off the town's children.

Powered by a steady diet of jump scares, The Woman in Black might be a turn off for some. I dug it (for the most part) as the story is interesting enough and the acting and cinematography were both stellar. I recommend it for a Friday night of cheap thrills and a good one to snuggle up with your sweetie to.

Cortez the Killer


Emily said...

Agreed. The jump scares were a tad too many and WAY too lazy, but the rest of the film really worked for me. Love the look and idea of the mansion and found the ill-fated children angle really effective. Not a homerun, but a solid double of a wide release horror film.

Planet of Terror said...

Indeed. The look of the entire thing (including the cinematography) was top notch. The house was a bit of a character unto itself. And the creepy kids and dolls really added to the entire affect.

Nice baseball analogy! :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your review on The Woman in Black. It looks like a good scare movie. A few of my co-workers at Dish told me it was pretty scary and I should rent it. I ended up renting it on Blockbuster @Home in Blu-ray and that didn't cost me extra. I hope to get the movie in the mail pretty soon so I can watch it.