The Woman in Black (2012) – Film Review

woman in black movie review

Director: James Watkins
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer, Ciarán Hinds
Certificate: 12A

by Dan Berlinka

The Woman in Black is an efficient, traditional ghost story. It probably delivers more shocks than scares, but it is nonetheless broodingly atmospheric. Almost every scene comes with a melancholy mist of dark foreboding.

Sorry – the period and the set-up lend themselves to this kind of cod-Gothic prose. Although the language in the film itself is actually quite modern and accessible throughout.

In Edwardian England, a lawyer ignores the locals’ warnings against visiting a remote house, despite rumours a vengeful spirit haunts the place.

A post-Potter Daniel Radcliffe is engaging and sympathetic as the mournful lead. The supporting cast is full of the kind of dependable character actors that Britain excels at producing.

the woman in black film review house


As with her previous adaptations, writer Jane Goldman’s script is solid and unfussy. Though perhaps it is a little one-note with not much variety in tone or pace.

James Watkins made a little go a long way in his feature debut Eden Lake. His graduation to a bigger budget star vehicle is polished and assured, if not necessarily ground-breaking.

But overall, while The Woman in Black never quite achieves the multi-layered goosebumps of say, The Devil’s Backbone or Dark Water, it’s still a well-crafted tale. Certainly good for an enjoyable family outing for those with older children.


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