The Woman In Black

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The Woman in Black
Fresh from the success of the Harry potter series Daniel Radcliffe is back in a tragically terrifying adaptation of Susan Hill’s ‘The woman in Black’, and produced by Hammer this is a film that the horror scene  lacks in many films; substance, style and story which doesn’t rely solely on the fear aspect .
Radcliffe stars as Arthur Kipps, a troubled grieving single father and London based lawyer sent to a small village named Crythin Gifford in the North of England to handle the affairs and stately home of one deceased Mrs Drablow. What is meant to be a simple matter is turned into a harrowing series of events for Kipps, all seemingly linked to a mysterious shadowy black figure and the children of a nearby village.
The premise is simple and comes with many familiar horror film ingredients; A ghostly apparition, a gothic run down creaky mansion, a townsfolk who shut their doors and windows on the main character (Kipps)  and at its core,  a backstory filled with betrayal and tragedy.  Accusations of this films clichéd nature aside, what else would you expect or enjoy out of a good old fashioned ghost story? And good old fashioned solid horror tales that don’t just rely on cheap thrills are few and far between.
The opening of the film, in which we see three little girls at a make believe tea party suddenly for no reason leap to their deaths out the attic window, really set the tone for the whole film: Grimm, bleak and very creepy. The setting of the small village surrounded by a desolate grey marshland adds to the silence and oppressive feeling in the film which is reflected in the towns people gripped in fear.
As with other successful horror films of this nature (such as the Others), what frightens you the most is not what you see but those fleeting glimpses of faces in windows, things that go bump in the night or objects that have moved on second glances and this film really utilizes these to their full potential (queue the real star of the show – that rocking chair that just will not stop rocking!).  What I enjoyed about the scare aspect was how the tension slowly builds and is maintained, as for example when Kipps (Radcliffe) spends and entire day and night in the haunted mansion on his own and we experience every small sensation from his point of view.
This may not be the horror blockbuster of the century that is looking to break the mould (possibly why many supposed horror lovers will be disappointed), but there is so much in this film to be appreciated it can easily be missed on first glances: The story is cleverly told and leaves just the right amount open to interpretation in the finale. There is also a real sense or danger here as instead of screaming adults, who you don’t really care about, the focus is on children who are the real victims and as such there is a true sadness running in this film and the characters. The camerawork and music (provided by Marco Beltrami) also add to the symbolic Grimm fairy tale style and the whole production looks like something taken right out of a period gothic horror novel with fine attention to detail in the costumes and set pieces.
Radcliffe once again shows us that he is more than capable in a role like this; my only gripe is that after seeing him portray a depressed fearful character towards the end of the Harry Potter films, what we get is more of the same downtrodden persona in this film. However this is easily forgiven as the real emphasis is on the tale and the traditional telling of it. The woman in Black is not perfect but if you are looking for a classy evocative ghost story that is as sad as it is eerie then you will probably love this film.
The Woman in Black
Fresh from the success of the Harry potter series Daniel Radcliffe is back in a tragically terrifying adaptation of Susan Hill’s ‘The woman in Black’, and produced by Hammer this is a film that the horror scene  lacks in many films; substance, style and story which doesn’t rely solely on the 'jump out of your seat' aspect .
Radcliffe stars as Arthur Kipps, a troubled grieving single father and London based lawyer sent to a small village named Crythin Gifford in the North of England to handle the affairs and stately home of one deceased Mrs Drablow. What is meant to be a simple matter is turned into a harrowing series of events for Kipps, all seemingly linked to a mysterious shadowy black figure and the children of a nearby village.
The premise is simple and comes with many familiar horror film ingredients; A ghostly apparition, a gothic run down creaky mansion, a townsfolk who shut their doors and windows on the main character (Kipps)  and at its core,  a backstory filled with betrayal and tragedy.  Accusations of this films clichéd nature aside, what else would you expect or enjoy out of a good old fashioned ghost story? And good old fashioned solid horror tales that don’t just rely on cheap thrills are few and far between.
The opening of the film, in which we see three little girls at a make believe tea party suddenly for no reason leap to their deaths out the attic window, really set the tone for the whole film: Grimm, bleak and very creepy. The setting of the small village surrounded by a desolate grey marshland adds to the silence and oppressive feeling in the film which is reflected in the towns people gripped in fear.
As with other successful horror films of this nature (such as the Others), what frightens you the most is not what you see but those fleeting glimpses of faces in windows, things that go bump in the night or objects that have moved on second glances and this film really utilizes these to their full potential (queue the real star of the show – that rocking chair that just will not stop rocking!).  What I enjoyed about the scare aspect was how the tension slowly builds and is maintained, as for example when Kipps (Radcliffe) spends and entire day and night in the haunted mansion on his own and we experience every small sensation from his point of view.
This may not be the horror blockbuster of the century that is looking to break the mould (possibly why many supposed horror lovers will be disappointed), but there is so much in this film to be appreciated it can easily be missed on first glances: The story is cleverly told and leaves just the right amount open to interpretation in the finale. There is also a real sense or danger here as instead of screaming adults, who you don’t really care about, the focus is on children who are the real victims and as such there is a true sadness running in this film and the characters. The camerawork and music (provided by Marco Beltrami) also add to the symbolic Grimm fairy tale style and the whole production looks like something taken right out of a period gothic horror novel with fine attention to detail in the costumes and set pieces.
Radcliffe once again shows us that he is more than capable in a role like this; my only gripe is that after seeing him portray a depressed fearful character towards the end of the Harry Potter films, what we get is more of the same downtrodden persona in this film. However this is easily forgiven as the real emphasis is on the tale and the traditional telling of it. The woman in Black is not perfect but if you are looking for a classy evocative ghost story that is as sad as it is eerie then you will probably love this film.
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