Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Cliché after Cliché.
So there has been this movie that I’ve been waiting to see, which…if you haven’t guessed by now, is The Woman in Black. There was some buzz around the movie when it first came out, as it was Daniel Radcliffe in something other than the Harry Potter franchise. He’s obviously been in more things, but this was Radcliffe amongst the world of horror…which is a reasonable shift in what we’re used to seeing him do…plus it takes place in the past…so this is pretty foreign in terms of what we’re used to…but in the end, it’s more or less the most cliché horror movie out there.
I do like the concept of this horror film though, as it separates itself from your typical haunted house flick, even though a good portion of the film is just that. Instead, it focuses on Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), who is tasked on taking care of the estate and will of a recently departed old lady, but once he gets to her house he begins seeing a “woman in black”. The legend goes…whenever she is seen by someone else, even for a split second, she goes into town and she finds a child to kill. Throughout the film, Kipps tries to discover why the ghost of this woman is so vengeful and how he can stop it from ever happening again…if he can.
The part about the story where it’s a vengeful spirit going after children is actually pretty unique and separates it from your typical ghost-in-house film. However, it is filled to the brim with plotholes that aren’t really explained. On one hand, you understand why she is killing kids, on the other hand…why she does it when someone looks at her is completely beyond me, and her method of choosing which kids to kill also doesn’t make sense and seems random…which doesn’t exactly fit her reasoning…which seems very specific. Beyond that, you know the whole town knows and believes the legend, and yet no one even attempts to move away and continues to have children…I know it’s terrible, but I say they were asking for it the entire time. Finally…the entire town knows about this legend and is scared of this woman in black…and yet the ENTIRE plot revolves around this guy dealing with a recently deceased woman who lived and died in this house. Apparently, the old lady didn’t have any problems with the scary ghost woman that creeps around her house and kills children.
The rest of the movie has a lot of cliché jump-out moments that either work or won’t depending on the viewer. I personally jumped during one of these many, many moments. The problem arises in their choice on how to film the scenes. While it looks nice and creepy a lot of the time, it’s filmed in a very typical manner. I know exactly when the woman in black is going to pop out…furthermore, I know exactly where she will show up as well…and that’s weird because this is my first viewing. Instead of being a psychological spooky movie, it tries to overwhelm you with very obvious scary visuals…which isn’t my personal preferred type.
How was Daniel Radcliffe? He tried his best, but in my opinion…he didn’t fit the role. I couldn’t buy his role as the lawyer, and not once do I care about his character either. Why don’t I care about his character? Mostly because I never felt danger toward him…the only people in danger in the film are the kids that are unfortunately extras in the movie…so even if you want to, you can’t care about the kids either.
Now that I’m done bashing the movie to kingdom come, I do want to acknowledge that it works for a lot of people. It’s clear to me, based on the reviews, that it either successfully scares or creeps out a number of people, so I’m willing to admit that maybe it’s just me and that I’m a critic so the effect was different…but as it is…I’ve seen better.
The Woman in Black is an interesting horror film that takes a basic haunted house genre flick and gives it a unique twist with the concept as a whole.
As unique as the concept was, it is met with a lot of flaws and clichés, making the scares in the movie mediocre, overdone, and obvious. Plus…Daniel Radcliffe just doesn’t work in the role.