Review: The Woman in Black

Voldemort to a Ghost...He's quite the hero
Voldemort to a Ghost...He's quite the hero

The Woman in Black was originally a novel written by Susan Hill in 1983. The book was received fairly well which then led to a stage play and then a television movie in 1989. Of course now, in the time of reboots and remakes, we have another Woman in Black. Daniel Radcliffe from Harry Potter steps into the shoes of Arthur Kipps, the main character of the story, who is dealing with quite his fair share of demons as he is facing off with this menacing ghost. Now it is a haunted house film, and those kind of films have not faired well as of late. Dream House, Insidious and so on were all a bit of a mixed bag. While The Woman in Black isn't a perfect movie, it is much better than any haunted house film that has been released of late.

More creepy children
More creepy children

The plot follows Arthur Kipps who is a young lawyer that lives with his four-year old son Joseph and his son's nanny. Kipps' wife died giving birth to Joseph, and the trauma still haunts him as he randomly sees her. Not only is he still dealing with the loss of his wife, but he is also facing financial issues along with problems at work with his law firm. He is assigned to handle the estate of Alice Drablow, who owned the Eel Marsh House of England where she lived with her husband, son and sister Jennet Humfrye. Kipps quickly boards a train to get to his destination, where he finds that the locals are not very welcoming of his presence. However, one man by the name of Sam Daily (Ciaran Hinds) is, and the two become friends rather quickly. He tells a few of the locals that he will be staying through the week, which troubles most of them. Most would think by how uneasy the locals were by his presence that he would be more inclined to leave quicker. However, since he needs the money for the completed job, he stays focused on the task at hand no matter how creepy it gets. When he eventually reaches the Eel Marsh House, no driver will take him further then the front gates or go in with him. He spends a good portion of his first day on the grounds of the house going through papers but is troubled when he hears footsteps. He is then even more troubled when he looks out a window and sees the fabled Woman in Black that the townspeople seem to fear.

I see you
I see you

After Kipps heads back in to town, he isn't treated particularly well by the locals following a horrible death in town. His friend Daily takes him to his own place for some dinner where he meets Daily's wife, Elizabeth. Elizabeth seems a bit off, as for one she treats her two dogs as her children. It is simply her wanting children so desperately, but still, it is incredibly odd. Kipps learns more about the Woman in Black through Elizabeth and heads back to the Eel Marsh House. At the house he finds more information telling more about the family, and through some disturbing visions he begins to piece together exactly how Nathaniel died. He stays at the house over the night where he begins to experience all kinds of paranormal activity.

3.5 stars out of 5
3.5 stars out of 5

It is hard to say anymore without giving away some of the plot, which I will say is surprisingly good. I had low expectations for this film, as I am not a big fan of Daniel Radcliffe's acting ability and when you add in how well haunted house films have done lately, I really thought it would be a stinker. However, Radcliffe did enough to be likable and believable in the role of Arthur Kipps but the real stars of the show was the director James Watkins and screenwriter Jane Goldman. The scenery itself added to the creepiness of the film as well as the location of the Eel Marsh House. The long desolate road leading to the house added to the creep factor of the scenery. Some of the more frightening scenes occurred inside the house of course, which were all pulled off incredibly well as the creepy dolls, the darkness and rocking chair all put me on edge throughout the experience. This marks the second film that James Watkins has directed (all in the horror genre) which leads me to believe he could become one of the up and coming horror directors of our generation. This film had the signature feel of the timeless 1970's horror films that I hold so dear to my heart. The slow start could lose some people, but the final forty minutes are a real treat for all horror fans.

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10 comments

gabrielthomas72 profile image

gabrielthomas72 4 years ago from Shrewsbury, England

I think everyone, rightly or wrongly will watch this one with 'Harry' in mind, and that is unfair. As you, I think Radcliffe does a good job building the troubled character of Kipps. And this film bodes well for the future career of Radcliffe and Watkins. And also marks a very welcome return to the Horror genre of Hammer Films!

Voted Up!


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 4 years ago from Columbia, MD Author

Thanks for the comment. I personally did think he did a fantastic job as Harry, but your right it is unfair to base his career off of one role.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago

Pretty good review on this movie, as I think you may have written a better hub on this one than i did. I think it should be interesting to see where Daniel Radcliffe's career will go from here.

By the way, I don't know if you ever watch clevver movies channel on youtube, but they made a broadcast announcement that an "Insidious" sequel is coming in 2013. lol. Just thought I'd give you a heads up since I know you liked the first one a lot. :D


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 4 years ago from Columbia, MD Author

I didn't like the first a lot, I thought it was decent but I know the public didn't like it very much. I really don't know why a sequel is necessary at all though. I know where they could go, but the suspense wouldn't be there. I guess they are looking for the replacement for PA once that inevitably goes down hill (this year). Speaking of PA, i heard a rumor about where the fourth will go if your interested.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago

Really? Where's the fourth one supposedly going if you don't mind me asking? By the way, are you a die hard batman fan? If so, then you should probably check out my review of "The Bat", as it's an old silent film that Bob Kane claimed had a HUGE influence on his creation behind batman. lol.


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 4 years ago from Columbia, MD Author

Batman and X-Men are my two favorite super hero comic books, so yes I will lol. The fourth one supposedly will be in the 90s where Katie and Kristi moved in with their father with no real memory of what we saw in the 3rd movie. It will be a prequel-sequel as Ali from the second movie and Micah's brother will be looking at tapes of what we will be seeing in this film. They are in search of something dealing with demonic possessions as they plan to hunt Katie down (that part I have a hard time believing, but something has to be done with the way the 2nd ended.) In the 90s as well, Katie and Kristi's mother is still alive but a shell of her former self. She may actually remember what happened from PA3, which would explain why Katie and Kristi say she was scared all the time in the 2nd movie. That's pretty much all I've heard I believe, I might be leaving out a few details. I remember this time last year though that the 3rd movie would feature Katie in a mental asylum constantly being filmed as the demon enters and exits her body.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago

That sounds very interest, but i thought the father was killed off though in the last movie. It should be interesting to see how it turns out though. Thanks for the inside scoop.


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 4 years ago from Columbia, MD Author

The guy in the third movie was the step father. Remember how the grandmother kept urging her daughter that the children should be with their real father, and not a wedding videographer....Now i know PA doesnt have a strong story, yet I still like it. lol


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago

oh yeah, that's right. you're right. I forgot it was the step father that died, and not the real father. hmmm...i wonder why she wanted them to live their father then. you think he might be cahoots with her or something?


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 4 years ago from Columbia, MD Author

I would think so yes. I think the Witches coven will be a big part of the next film. I don't care honestly, I'd rather them go back to the normal timeline. The coven in my eyes took two things from the normal time. The tapes that Katie dropped off in the basement in the beginning of the third film, and then if you remember from the 2nd movie Kristi explains how the only thing that was taken was the necklace that Katie gave her when they were kids. The necklace was mostly like that triangle with the circle in the middle, or just a pentagram.

I really should make a PA4 hub lol

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