The Woman in Black is a 2012 film that is based on the book of the same name by Susan Hill. It was released at the cinema on 10th February and the film has a run time of 95 minutes. The Woman in Black is rated 12A due to scenes of horror and violence/ disturbing images.
The film opens with a very shocking scene of three young girls playing happily in an attic room when suddenly; they all get up and jump out of the window together, committing suicide. Nothing is explained or expanded upon.
The film then jumps to the Edwardian era where Arthur Kipps lives with his four year old son and his nanny. It soon becomes clear that Kipps’ wife died during child birth and that the family are now struggling to get by. Not being in a very good position at the solicitor’s firm he works at, Kipps is sent off to a town in the middle of nowhere to settle the estate (Eel Marsh House) of a recently deceased woman. As soon as Kipps arrives in town, he can tell something is wrong. The room he booked to stay at is now apparently taken, the locals are not friendly at all and all tell him to leave town as well as the local solicitor telling him to not go to Eel Marsh House. Not listening though, Kipps does go up to the house in the middle of the marshes to do the job he was assigned but it doesn’t take long for strange things to start happening. After seeing a strange woman in the marshes, children in town begin to die and the blame is put on Kipps. He must figure out what is happening before his own son comes to stay!
I love anything creepy or scary and while I haven’t read the book or seen the play version, I knew The Woman in Black was supposed to be just like this so I was excited to watch the film. The film begins exactly how it means to go on – weird and creepy as hell. The opening really sets the scene for what is about to come and this got me even more excited. Instead of being drawn out and boring, leading into the story, this opening is shocking but amazing and what happens is something that stayed with me throughout the whole film.
Daniel Radcliffe plays Arthur Kipps, a young man struggling to cope with a young son after the death of his wife. As money is tight, Kipps has to agree to go on a pretty bad job for the law firm that he works for which involves travelling to a remote village to sort out the papers of a recently deceased woman which is creepy enough in itself. Throughout the Harry Potter films, I hated Radcliffe with a passion. I’ve always thought that he was a terrible actor and couldn’t really see him doing much else. As this film started though, I began to change my mind. Radcliffe is quite dark and brooding but with conviction. I could feel all kinds of emotion from him and I actually think he was really good in this role. However, he doesn’t really talk that much so maybe this is why he was so good.
When it comes to horror, it takes quite a lot to scare me normally. This film terrified me. The horror that The Woman in Black brings is a mix of all sorts really. Demonic looking toys are nothing new but the ones used here were especially freaky which was down to the way they looked, the sounds and actions they made as well as where they were placed. Noise is a big deal is this film and it makes me think of films like The Haunting (original version) where you don’t really see anything – you only hear it. The not being able to see what is going on is very scary indeed. Then there is the woman in black herself. All I’ll say about that is that she is definitely what nightmares are made of.
Being set in a small town in the middle of nowhere and focusing on a house even further away from civilisation gave this film a great atmospheric feel. You could tell that the people there were slightly different from those living in a city. You could tell that things were done differently there. The contrast between this and Kipps’ character was great because you could see just how out of place he was and that he had no idea about what was going on at all. As Kipps spends more time there and the plot unfolds, I got more and more scared, a bit nervous at the same time but also completely loved the film.
I was not expecting The Woman in Black to be this good and definitely not as scary as it was but I did really love it. I’m not quite sure how it managed to get away with only a 12A rating though when there were people screaming in the cinema.