The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black

A lawyer ... is forced to leave his young son and travel to a remote village to attend to the affairs of the recently deceased owner of Eel Marsh House. Working alone in the old mansion, Kipps begins to uncover the town’s tragic and tortured secrets and his fears escalate when he discovers that local children have been disappearing under mysterious circumstances. When those closest to him become threatened by the vengeful woman in black, Kipps must find a way to break the cycle of terror. 3.0 out of 5 based on 18 reviews
The Woman in Black

Omniscore:

Certificate 12A
Genre Drama, Horror, Thriller
Director James Watkins
Cast Ciarán Hinds, Janet McTeer, Roger Allam, Sophie Stuckey, Shaun Dooley Daniel Radcliffe
Studio Momentum Pictures
Release Date February 2012
Running Time 94 mins
 

A lawyer ... is forced to leave his young son and travel to a remote village to attend to the affairs of the recently deceased owner of Eel Marsh House. Working alone in the old mansion, Kipps begins to uncover the town’s tragic and tortured secrets and his fears escalate when he discovers that local children have been disappearing under mysterious circumstances. When those closest to him become threatened by the vengeful woman in black, Kipps must find a way to break the cycle of terror.

Reviews

Empire Magazine

Olly Richards

The most vital aspect of any depiction of The Woman In Black is that it be consistently unsettling. This is part horror film, but more ghost story. It’s not enough to make the audience jump; they have to feel their flesh crawl almost constantly. Watkins has measured it just right ... You will likely spend a great deal of the running time cowered so far into your seat that you’re virtually horizontal.

06/02/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Robbie Collin

This latest version takes the plot down some cobweb-strewn corridors of its own, but its marriage of gothic fiction and gothic fashion feels entirely right for our times. Like all of the best ghost stories, The Woman In Black is only enriched in the retelling.

09/02/2012

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Time Magazine

Richard Corliss

A perfect patsy for Watkins’ and Goldman’s scaremanship I wondered if the film’s pleasures were new or remembered? Perhaps, I decided, they please because they are remembered, from the bedtime stories that have bequeathed sleepless nights to many generations of children. The Woman in Black is a welcome addition to the old canon; renouncing innovation, embracing anachronism, it’s almost The Artist of ghost movies.

02/02/2012

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Channel 4 Film

Rebecca Davies

Unsophisticated though the film may be, it's undeniably entertaining (at least for horror and/or fairground ride fans) and it's good to see Hammer doing what it does best.

10/02/2012

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The New York Times

Manohla Dargis

Watkins’s smartest choice is to make use of Mr. Radcliffe’s long tenure as an action star. There isn’t much by way of dashing heroics here, but Arthur is almost continually on the move ... With Mr. Watkins’s creeping camerawork it’s Arthur who keeps the story steadily moving forward inch by inch, shiver by shiver.

02/02/2012

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The Scotsman

Alistair Harkness

The Orphanage raised the bar so high for this kind of thing that delivering occasional shocks no longer cuts it if the emotional pay-off isn’t strong enough. And, sadly, it isn’t strong enough here. That’s partly because Jane Goldman’s script is devoid of subtlety, partly because James Watkins’s direction doesn’t warm the heart as effectively as it chills the blood, and partly because Daniel Radcliffe, despite giving a very earnest and otherwise engaging performance, lacks the years and the gravitas to truly convince as a grieving husband with a four-year-old son.

09/02/2012

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The Los Angeles Times

Sheri Linden

Though the film can work simply as a haunted-house thrill ride, director James Watkins is building a deeper unease and ultimately doesn't cheat the morbid heart of the narrative for the sake of excitement. If the story is laid out none too subtly, its straightforward purity is, finally, its greatest strength.

03/02/2012

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The Evening Standard

Derek Malcolm

Watkins's film, which looks good, is a ghost story as much as a horror movie and yields up its secrets at an even pace. Some may feel that the ruses used to set us shivering with anticipated fear ... have been used so often before that they lose force. No single cathartic shock pulls us up but a steady drip of anxious moments attempt the desired effect.

10/02/2012

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The Guardian

Xan Brooks

I'll confess that ... [it] had me jumping in my seat and clutching pathetically at the armrest. All the same, I remain undecided about Radcliffe, who endures each shuddering shock with a blank, stoic fortitude that suggests a teenager taking his driving test. He passes, but only just.

09/02/2012

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The Observer

Philip French

The film is altogether more conventional than Hill's novella, and one rather misses the nicely dated narration and the way we're drawn into the mind of a middle-aged man looking back to the unforgettable terror of his most memorable experience.

12/02/2012

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The Sunday Times

Cosmo Landesman

Beneath the film’s spooky surface lurks something really scary: a female serial killer of children. But the film’s slavish commitment to the style of the classic Hammer horror movie — the company behind this very production — suffocates any realism that might seep through the story and make us shudder. The Woman in Black has little interest in the woman in black, her motives or mind-set. She’s more like a horror prop than a real person.

12/02/2012

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Time Out

Tom Huddleston

Hanging on to your movie career is a trial for any child actor, but [Radcliffe ... has] ... made a good first step with this smart, spooky adaptation of Susan Hill’s bestselling novel but the sight of Harry Potter with mutton chops and a two-year-old son can still take a spot of getting used to.

06/02/2012

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The Times

Kate Muir

Perhaps because of hours of Harry Potter, Radcliffe fails to have enough gravitas. But he handles the physical challenges well, particularly a gruesome scene where he digs up a rotting child’s body.

10/02/2012

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Total Film

Matt Glasby

A heritage horror so classical it almost veers towards camp, this unashamedly old-fashioned ghost story benefits from Radcliffe’s committed performance and Watkins’ willingness to do anything for a scare.

25/01/2012

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The Independent on Sunday

Nicholas Barber

Effective as it ultimately is, The Woman in Black still resembles a fairground ride more than a film.

12/02/2012

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The Independent

Anthony Quinn

And talking of lifeless performances, I'm afraid Radcliffe has not been hiding a talent untapped by the Potter years. There's effort in his will to communicate fear and anguish, but good acting is surely about the concealment of that effort...

10/02/2012

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The Financial Times

Nigel Andrews

A story that had prodigious legs on page and stage – mountaineer-worthy legs – barely gets to base camp here, let alone to those giddying heights where we will scream at anything, including the black-garbed ghost lady dollying towards us in the attic.

09/02/2012

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The Daily Mail

Chris Tookey

The most frightening horror films of recent years – and here I’m thinking of The Others, The Orphanage and the under-appreciated 1480 – all had fine central performances, by Nicole Kidman, Belen Rueda and John Cusack respectively. Radcliffe isn’t in the same class.

25/01/2012

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