By Cal Wayne
The Woman in Black is a new supernatural thriller based on the original novel by Susan Hill, directed by James Watkins, and starring Harry Potter.
I absolutely love a good ghost story. More so than any slasher film ever could, supernatural movies have a very special feeling of dread and terror that can only be produced by the logically impossible. I was as excited about The Woman In Black as I had been for any horror film in the past few years. Not because of Harry Potter or because I thought I should have been but excited because of a potentially great plot and the idea of a true-to-form ghost story.
Arthur Kipps (Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe)) is a young lawyer who is still struggling with the death of his wife, as well as raising his son. His firm is not pleased with his progress, and gives him one last chance to make a good impression by traveling to a remote town and sorting out the paper work of a recently deceased woman. Upon arrival there is instantly a feeling of unwelcoming and unease among the villagers. After traveling to Eel Marsh house, Kipps discovers the history behind a curese that is claiming the lives of the children who inhabit the town.
From the grizzly opening scene, TWIB immediately creates a very 'Doom & Gloom' type of atmosphere. The constantly dark-grey skies, the foggy marsh, and most importantly, Eel Marsh house are all essential components to conjuring a feeling of unease. If a movie can successfully create an atmosphere similar to the one in TWIB, the rest of the movie becomes much more simple to pull off. An ode to this truth might be that the first half of TWIB is almost entirely composed of the 'Jump-Scare tactic.' The simple combination of a scary house and loud noises was surprisingly effective, even coming from a seasoned horror movie veteran like myself. The intelligent lack of over-exposure to the woman herself, mixed with all of the aformentioned factors lead up to a very suspensefull conclusion.
The Woman In Black really thrives on using well-executed cliche's and scare-tactics, but it all feels very natural to the film. In every sense, The Woman In Black really is an old-fashioned ghost story and an enjoyable one at that. I haven't lost any sleep over this movie, that's for sure, but I was caught up in the plot for the entire film. It was intreguing, jumpy, gloomy, and really does feature 3 or 4 good scares. I wouldn't wait for a DVD release; this movie is worth the price of admission.