The Woman in Black (24/08/12)
A young lawyer travels to a remote village where he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals.
I was very much looking forward to this film. For someone who doesn’t scare easy, I’m always looking for a good horror or ghost film that can successfully put a scare in me. The Woman in Black looked like it could do that. All I remember hearing about it, when it was out in cinemas, was how genuinely chilling it was.
On that front, it disappointed. Well, on a few other fronts, but mainly that one.
Where to start. The scares. This film had the makings to be a really chilling piece. It’s got the classic vengeful ghost. The period settings. Unwelcoming locals. Then add a fish out of water in Daniel Radcliffe’s Arthur Kipps. But it just came off as a little boring with some cheap scares.
Yes, I was bored. There were long moments without dialogue. Which, I presume, were there to build up the suspense in an upcoming scare. But those long build ups just sign posted the scare a little too much and made the build up a bit pointless. Sure, the scenes where the various dolls are all moving on their own in unison is down right creepy. (I’m glad I wasn’t a kid back then, those toys are not friendly looking!) But the scare that came after them was one used one too many times throughout the film.
Then you’ve got Daniel Radcliffe. Hot off the Harry Potter express. See, I never got into Harry Potter. The books or the films. I thought I’d give Daniel Radcliffe the benefit of the doubt for The Woman in Black and I think he did a fairly good job. But I couldn’t help but feel he was too young for the role. Or the character was too young. For the amount of heartbreak and grief his character was meant to have gone through and still reeling from. He just felt too young.
Aside from a few moments of boredom and some dodgy CG fog The Woman in Black isn’t a bad ghost/horror film. It’s just not up there with the likes of The Devil’s Backbone and The Orphanage. For me those are among my favourite ghost stories because they have a whole lot more than just the scares.
Read on to see all the films watched this year…
66 Films so far this year
- The Tourist 1/5 (02/01/12)
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 5/5 (03/01/12)
- World’s Greatest Dad 2/5 (14/01/12)
- Haywire 3/5 (19/01/12)
- Dead Snow 3/5 (20/01/12)
- The Artist 5/5 (21/01/12)
- Priest 2/5 (05/02/12)
- The Muppets 5/5 (15/02/12)
- Faster 4/5 (19/02/12)
- Chronicle 4/5 (22/02/12)
- Safe House 4/5 (24/02/12)
- Reservoir Dogs 4/5 (25/02/12)
- This Means War 4/5 (02/03/12)
- The Royal Tenenbaums 3/5 (03/03/12)
- Reign of Fire 3/5 (04/03/12)
- Dear John 2/5 (04/03/12)
- Road to Perdition 5/5 (05/03/12)
- The Three Musketeers 3/5 (06/03/12)
- The Eagle 2/5 (10/03/12)
- Everybody’s Fine 2/5 (14/03/12)
- Frankenstein 4/5 (15/03/12)
- Love and Other Drugs 2/5 (15/03/12)
- You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger 2/5 (17/03/12)
- The Big Lebowski 5/5 (18/03/12)
- The Hunger Games 3/5 (23/03/12)
- Headhunters 4/5 (07/04/12)
- Super 1/5 (07/04/12)
- The Cabin in the Woods 5/5 (13/04/12)
- Watchmen 4/5 (14/04/12)
- The Hurt Locker 3/5 (21/04/12)
- Avengers Assemble 5/5 (26/04/12)
- 22 Bullets 2/5 (28/04/12)
- Bad Teacher 1/5 (29/04/12)
- Red Riding Hood 1/5 (04/05/12)
- A Perfect Getaway 4/5 (05/05/12)
- Ca$h 1/5 (13/05/12)
- Kung Fu Panda 2 3/5 (14/05/12)
- Everything Must Go 2/5 (24/05/12)
- New York, I Love You 2/5 (25/05/12)
- Beginners 4/5 (26/05/12)
- Prometheus 4/5 (03/06/12)
- The Tree of Life 2/5 (04/06/12)
- The Lovely Bones 3/5 (05/06/12)
- Snow White and the Huntsman 3/5 (06/06/12)
- The Devil’s Backbone 4/5 (07/06/12)
- Britain in a Day 5/5 (11/06/12)
- The French Connection 4/5 (15/06/12)
- Insomnia 3/5 (16/06/12)
- Rebel Without a Cause 4/5 (22/06/12)
- A Lonely Place to Die 3/5 (26/06/12)
- Killer Joe 3/5 (29/06/12)
- The Amazing Spider-Man 4/5 (03/07/12)
- Raising Arizona 4/5 (04/07/12)
- Horrible Bosses 4/5 (06/07/12)
- Broadcast News 3/5 (07/07/12)
- We Need to Talk About Kevin 4/5 (07/07/12)
- Miller’s Crossing 4/5 (18/07/12)
- The Dark Knight Rises 5/5 (20/07/12)
- 21 Jump Street 5/5 (29/07/12)
- The Mystery Team 3/5 (07/08/12)
- The Help 4/5 (11/08/12)
- The Bourne Legacy 3/5 (13/08/12)
- The Expendables 2 4/5 (17/08/12)
- Brave 5/5 (19/08/12)
- Dracula 3/5 (19/08/12)
- The Woman in Black 3/5 (24/08/12)
Good review, Jaina. I know all too well the quest for a truly scary movie. Sorry to hear this one didn’t measure up for you in that regard or otherwise.
Seriously, where have all the genuinely terrifying films gone?
I haven’t actually encountered any yet, personally, so I’m not sure there ever were any…
Spanish horror REC is a pretty good one. We can’t give up on something coming up in the future!
Great write up Jaina, I still haven’t seen this film as I am not really a watcher of HORROR, but it seems it may not even be that scary!!
As horrors go, I would say it’s quite tame. However. If you scare easy… you might need to have a pillow to hide behind.
[…] in Black was a spring 2012 release, but timing has worked out so that Jaina at Time Well Spent has her review ready just in time for the leaves to start turning brown. Since it’ll soon be time to start […]
Nice review Jaina. This flick had some solid scares here and there, but mostly was just another routine horror flick that had more fun with itself than we are used to seeing. Don’t know how I feel about Radcliffe on his own just yet, but I think he may be able to surprise me soon.
Dan Radcliffe has some acting chops, but he needs to find himself a good stand out role.
It would have to be something really special to be up there with the Orphanage and the Devils Backbone! I bought a copy of this a couple of weeks ago and haven’t got around to watching it yet, I might wait until the days get shorter and winter draws in.
If you want to see a terrifying ghost story track down a copy of the BBC’s GhostWatch, it is a feature length ‘live’ Halloween broadcast from 1992. Due to the controversy it has not been shown on TV since.
I remember that Ghostwatch. I remember being more than mildly terrified as a child. Then I think my mum switched the TV off…
I liked this film, it wasn’t anything special but in the world where most horror movies are laughable this one was at least a bit creepy. The original TV movie was much better, though.
True, the horror genre’s just slid into so much crap recently. Big shame.
I heard it was a slow starting movie. I love horror movies and Daniel Radcliffe, but I wasn’t really rushing to this movie. I heard there is going to be sequel.
Yep, sequel is on the cards as this film did so well in the box office.
Creepy toys freak me out too. Yea, since Radcliffe is so Harry Potter, I’d also have a hard time seeing him in a more adult role too. That’s a shame that some kids are pigeoned holed where as others are not. I wonder what the secret is.
I never saw any Harry Potters. Well, one, but never really got into them. I do think he’s not a bad actor, he just needs to find a good new role.
I’ve never been convinced by Radcliffe so am avoiding this. May catch it one day. Glad you’re another person not swept up by Potter.
Not swept up by Potter or Radcliffe. He just doesn’t strike me as a … good actor.
Hmm. I can see where you are coming from. But we were pleasantly surprised by this film. I think we enjoyed it because it was a good old fashioned ghost yarn. And, as huge fans of Harry Potter but not of Daniel Radcliffe in the role, we found ourselves looking at each other in amazement on discovering that he can actually act!
Have you seen “The Others”? Now that is a very good ghost film!
The Others is a good little ghost story! That one had some nice couple of scares!
I’m with you on this one, Jaina. I liked the film well enough, but it was strange to see Daniel Radcliffe playing a much older character. Strange bit of casting there.
Very strange. I’m wondering if he was cast in it on the coat tails of Potter.
Even with a 3/5 grade, you were very generous to this one, my friend. At least I think so. I was completely bored by The Woman in Black (glad I didn’t see it in theaters!). For a while it was #1 on my “worst of the year” list. It’s been topped by one or two films, but it’s still definitely up there.
Looking back, I think I was pretty generous too. I just remember it getting such rave reviews over here and enough box office bang to warrant a sequel! Crazy.