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Friday, February 24, 2012

[7.25/10] The Woman in Black (2012)


The Woman in Black (2012)

Brief review: After his critically acclaimed 2008 debut feature, "Eden Lake", UK director James Watkins brings us "The Woman in Black" - a period ghost story, based on Susan Hill's novel of the same name. While the film doesn't brings anything new to the table story-wise, it still works on many levels, thanks to its well-written script and competent execution. The movie manages to be chilling without being graphic and gory, and maintains its constant creepiness with some spooky images, shuddering sound effects and a couple of very effective jump scares. James Watkins definitely shows a tremendous improvement as a director in this movie. While his direction in "Eden Lake" was solid, yet rather generic, here, he displays more creativity, some great skills behind the camera and a truly astounding visual style, that makes "The Woman in Black" one of the most tasteful, stylish and visually atmospheric horror movies of the past few years, if not the decade. The ominous setting alone is enough to give you the chills, the murky, muted cinematography matches the dark, gothic tone of the film, plus, it features tons of dense gray fog, forbidding marshes, sinister antique toys, and some really creepy interiors. Daniel Radcliffe proves everyone who thinks he is a one-note actor wrong, delivering a believable and convincing central performance, and the supporting cast is strong, with Ciarán Hinds being the standout.

Overall summary: Creepy, atmospherically grim and stylishly-shot, if hardly groundbreaking, "The Woman in Black" is an old-fashioned ghost story that, luckily, avoids gore as instead relies on its eerie tone, spooky imagery and solid chills to successfully frighten its audience.

28 comments:

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

I don't know why they call this "the Woman in Black". Daniel Radcliffe is a pretty boy yes...but hardly a woman.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

A stylish ghost story that doesn't rely on gore or special effects is difficult to find these days!

Nebular said...

Michael, I get your sarcasm, but I don't think it's very appropriate. :)

Nebular said...

Alex, indeed, that's why The Woman in Black is so special.

Craig Edwards said...

I completely agree with you, Nebular. I thoroughly enjoyed this old-fashioned ghost romp - and was thrilled that it marked my first time ever seeing a Hammer film on The Big Screen!

Here's a link to my review should anyone want to double down on the critiques...

http://craiglgooh.blogspot.com/2012/02/scary-potter.html

If you drop by Mr. N please comment a link back here - maybe we can end up trapping someone in some kind of blog timeloop!

Nebular said...

Craig, glad you agree with me, buddy. This one was really creepy, atmospheric and effective and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Congrats on your first Hammer film at the cinema, than. :) It was mine too. LOL.

In fact, I read your lovely review the same day you posted it, but I was in a rush, and had to go without dropping a comment. I'll redeem myself though. :)

Real Queen of Horror said...

It was visually a stunning movie but there were sooo many questions unanswered for me. Plus the ending made me want to squire lemon juice in my eyes...

Nebular said...

Real Queen of Horror, what exactly didn't you get? Tell me, and I'll clear it up for you. :)

I loved the ending, because it wasn't corny and happy end-ish, and yes, the visuals were stunning.

Thanks for the comment.

Matthew Vanacore said...

Both you and Melissa gave this solid marks. Looks like I'm obligated to add it to my watch list :)

Nebular said...

Matty, we both loved it for a reason. :) If you want to see a good old-fashioned spookfest, than this is the right movie for you.

Rick said...

Nicely balanced review, Nebular! Good work as always.

Nebular said...

Thanks, Ricky, I appreciate it. I hope you like the movie as well. :)

Melissa Bradley said...

I loved this movie and agree 100 percent with your awesome review. Daniel really outdid himself as a grieving widower who can't quite make himself live without his wife, even though he must for his child. I thought the jump scares were terrific as I was all alone in the darkened theater. It was great to see an old-fashioned creepy scarefest with no gore or demons.

And oh my God were those toys not the most horrific, creepy little things ever? I shuddered just looking at them and their dead eyes.

LadyJ3000 said...

I definitely want to see this one but I want to read the book before I see it.

Nebular said...

Thank you so much, sweetheart. I loved it too. The atmosphere was terrific and it made me jump out of my seat several times. Plus, the woman in black herself gave me the chills. I don't want to meet her under any circumstances. LOL.
Everyone thought Daniel couldn't outgrow his Harry Potter character, but he did and he was very convincing I must say. Yep, the toys were horrific too.

Nebular said...

LadyJ3000, fair enough. I assume the book will be even better than the movie, like often happens. I hope you like it.

farawayeyes said...

I got talked out of seeing this one last week and saw 'Loud and Close' instead. While I'm not necessarily complaining as there was much to appreciate about L & C, I still want to see "Woman in Black". After this review, more than ever. I'm hoping it makes the cut for one more week here on the island. Thanks

Nebular said...

farawayeyes, I don't get all the hate for EL&IC - it was weirdly engaging and I enjoyed it a lot.
Check out "Woman in Black" if you like solid old-fashioned ghost story with tons of jump scares and atmospheric visuals. :)

H A R R Y G O A Z said...

Have a SUPER weekend!

Nebular said...

Thank you, Harry. You too.

The Film Connoisseur said...

Sooo looking forward to this one, especially since its been getting so many good reviews. It's such a rare thing for a horror film to be good...

Nebular said...

The Film Connoisseur, it's worth-seeing indeed and definitely creepy. Why didn't you catch it in theaters?

Elgart said...

I've been waiting for the DVD release of this movie. I am more hyped after reading your reviews. Great review buddy!

Nebular said...

Elgart, I think you'll have to wait another 3 or 4 months more, because it hasn't dropped out of cinemas yet.
Thanks, mate. :)

The Film Connoisseur said...

There are too many movies in theaters man, and I'd like to see a lot of them. I sometimes hold back from going to the movies or else I'd spend my whole check going to the movies and renting films! But next time I go, I know what I might be watching.

Nebular said...

The Film Connoisseur, you're right. There are far too many movies in theaters right now, and it's almost impossible to check them all out.
I'll be glad if my review helped you decide which movie you want to see next in theaters. Cheers.

Maynard Morrissey said...

I guess I'm a James Watkins fan:
enjoyed WOMAN IN BLACK about as much as I enjoyed Eden Lake & Descent 2.

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

Maynard, obviously. :) I liked it a lot too, though wasn't necessarily blown away by it. It gave me the creeps and that's good enough for me. ;)