Thursday, 8 March 2012

The Woman In Black (2012)

I'm not going to go into too much detail about the plot of this movie as I think it deserves to be seen without knowing too much before hand.

Daniel Radcliffe plays Arthur Kipps, a widower with a young child, who is struggling to come to terms with his bereavement and jeopardising his career as a consequence.

He is given one last chance by his employer, and if he messes up, he's fired. He is sent to a remote village in the north of England to clear up the paperwork pertaining to the estate of the recently deceased Alice Drablow, whose former home is situated on an island off the coast, which is only accessible at low tide.

The locals aren't exactly friendly, and young Mr Kipps ends up spending a lot of time alone in a very creepy deserted house.......

So, how does Daniel Radcliffe fare in his first film since the end of the Harry Potter franchise?

I have to say, I really liked it. As horror films go, it sits in the "Boo! made you jump" category, which makes a pleasant change from the recent trend for "torture porn" flicks. Radcliffe puts in a good performance, my only minor criticism is that he seems a fraction too young to play a widower, although as my wife pointed out, in that period people didn't live as long as they do now, and a great many women died in childbirth that may have survived had modern medical technology been available.

The supporting cast are weird and wonderful, Ciaran Hinds as Sam and Janet McTeer as his unstable wife Elizabeth are very entertaining, I loved the scene at dinner, with the twins. I was also pleasantly surprised to see Jessica Raine, who plays Jenny in the BBC's Call The Midwife, in the role of Joseph Kipps' nanny.

The eponymous woman in black is used sparingly, and used well, by director James Watkins, in the first high profile release from the newly resurrected Hammer films, after the fairly low profile releases of Let Me In (eloquently reviewed by Andrew Lewin over at Taking The Short View), The Resident and Wake Wood. The visual style harks back to the classic Hammer films, given a modern twist by today's special effects. Hammer is back, and in some style!

If you are after chills and thrills, this could be just the thing you're looking for.

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