Thursday, February 9, 2012

Film Review: The Woman in Black (2012)

The Woman in Black (2012)
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 95 Min
Genre: Drama | Horror | Thriller

Tomato Meter: 64%

Cast overview, first billed only:
Emma Shorey as Fisher Girl (Necessary Child)
Molly Harmon as Fisher Girl (who starred in the immemorial film Kitten in a Cat Trap)
Molly Harmon as Fisher Girl (don't blame me, IMDB lists her twice)
Sophie Stuckey as Stella Kipps (Our Hero's wife or something)
Daniel Radcliffe as Arthur Kipps (Our Hero!)
Misha Handley as Joseph Kipps (Our Her's Young Son)
Jessica Raine as Nanny (Our Hero's Nanny)
Roger Allam as Mr. Bentley (Possibly a central plot character, possibly not)
Lucy May Barker as Nursemaid (Forgetabble)
Indira Ainger as Little Girl on Train (Little Girl on Train. What? That's what she is.)
Andy Robb as Doctor (Eh.)
Ciarán Hinds as Daily (Our Hero's Sidekick or Something)
Shaun Dooley as Fisher (Another Fisher)
Mary Stockley as Mrs. Fisher (Some other kind of Fisher)
Alexia Osborne as Victoria Hardy (Ah... don't remember)

If you're in the mood for a good old Hammer style horror film, then go see The Woman in Black and you won't be disappointed.  If not, then go see One for the Money or some other piece of vacuous tripe and free up a seat for the rest of the world.

Keep reading for my considered opinion on The Woman in Black, without spoilers.

The setting is England and the time is the early twentieth century.  The deal here is that Our Hero has to go out of town on business, and a large part of that business takes place in a small town near the ocean on a previously inhabited deserted island in a staggeringly huge home that no one in their right mind would come within five miles of.  Our Hero has no choice in the matter, and so takes his nervous condition firmly in hand and puts one foot in front of the other.

And that's all the further I'll go.  You'll have to see the rest of it for yourself.

This being a Hammer film, the strong points are the sets, the costuming and in this film, the acting.  Let's talk sets first.  I don't know where they made the film, but the small town is outstanding.  The buildings are just decrepit enough to look spooky and set things up for The House, which would be the main attraction if the small town wasn't done so well.  This is truly a place where the sun could shine, the sky could be pure blue and you'd still wait with anticipation for the first jack boot to fall on some unsuspecting soul.  The House, and once you see it you'll understand why I put it in caps, is better than the typical Hammer film haunted mansion.  One look at this place and every ghost buster on a reality television show will hang up his wacko meter, pawn his infrared camera and find a career with H&R Block.  The place is huge, and the interior rooms are extremely well done with paintings and statuary that is not precisely over the top, but is suggestive enough to make someone almost believe that a large man with a chainsaw might be upstairs in the attic.

The casting in this film is almost perfect.  A lot of unknown actors got parts in the film, which I'm always glad to see.  Daniel Radcliffe does a great job as Our Hero, who is forced into this position and who, being both bright and sane, is afraid.  He does the best he can, and Radcliffe carries out his role in a very believable fashion.  The other actors play their parts extremely well, in particular Ciarán Hinds does an excellent job with his role; Janet McTeer plays his barely functional psychotic wife who may or may not be violent - you just never know, do you?

This is a great film and I had a ton of fun watching it.  You don't have to see it on the big screen, but it's actually worth the full price ticket to do so.  I'm going to give this one a solid 8 on a scale of 1 to 10.


Anonymous said...

Oddly this is more helpful than the quarter page review I read this week in our local.

Mad Jack said...

Thanks, vicomtesse.