The Woman in Black – Film Review

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woman in black movie review

The Woman in Black

Film Review

Director: James Watkins
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer, Ciarán Hinds
Rating: PG-13

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.

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“Well-crafted”

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.
7/10

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