Friday, February 3, 2012

Movie Review: "The Woman in Black"

Nothing freaks me out more than a ghost story.  There's something about the idea of something that you cannot see, that you cannot fight, that's more terrifying to me than any other type of horror story, and The Woman in Black is one of the best horror films I've seen in years.  The film is brilliantly directed by James Watkins, with so much of the film's characters being revealed through cleverly designed shots, rather than verbal exposition.  It tells the tale of a recently widowed London lawyer named Arthur Kipps, who travels to a small country village to settle the documentation of an old abandoned house in a foggy marsh that is unreachable during high tide, and is also haunted by a vengeful ghost who is causing the strange deaths of all children in the village.   Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, portrays Arthur Kipps in his first major, post-Potter role, and he is marvelous.  At first he seems too young to be portraying a father, but it's how Radcliffe shows a breadth of emotions that one generally associates with someone beyond his years, that makes him believable in the role.  In many ways, it's a one man show, and Radcliffe carries this film, with much of the film following him being terrorized in a house, and he is such a mesmerizing presence onscreen, you're willing to go along on the journey.  Where the film really stands out though, is that it just avoids all cliches of films like this.  Not only is it well acted and well directed, it just genuinely keeps you on the edge of your seat because it does not traipse into genre formula, and literally shocks and surprises you in the very end.

I give The Woman in Black an A

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