Posted January 25, 2012 by editor in Film Reviews

The Woman In Black Review

Daniel Radcliffe makes his first big effort to star away from the Harry potter franchise in this adaptation. The stage play has quite the reputation, but I won’t be making any comparisons as I have not seen it. So this review is purely from the point of view of this being a film only and coming from the perspective of someone who has no clue as to what the story is about. And a film review can’t get any fairer than that.

Radcliffe plays a widower with a four year old son, Arthur Kipps. Still stuck in a pit of depression he is coming close to losing his job. Sent on one more errand to close the estate of the recently deceased owner of a house up in… He is packed off by his bosses and sent up to the misty, gloomy grounds Jonathan Harker style to do the work over a three day period.

Once he arrives he is instantly shunned by all of the locals. No one wants to put him up; despite a reservation having been previously made. The townsfolk just want him to get out of town as soon as possible.

Not perturbed by their behaviour he heads on out to the estate anyway – and that’s where things start to go bump in the night. Basically no stone is left unturned in the haunted house/ghost story. You want echoed voices from the other end of the house – you got them. You want rocking chairs that move by themselves – you got that too. In fact there is just about everything here except eyes moving on the painting on the stairwell. Despite every cliché in the book being utilised, it is still handled fairly well by director.

Radcliffe is far too you for the part, but has stepped up to the challenge regardless. He’s clearly game to improve his skills and range, and despite being a bit stiff at the beginning; it soon becomes clear that he is far better as a reactor that when he is talking. The flashback moment when he realises that he has a son, but suddenly at the cost of his wife’s life is a good example. You can literally see the colour drain from his facial features.

The supporting is lead by Ciaràn Hinds and Janet McTeer who are impressive as the well off couple that are only too happy to help Arthur out. Jane Goldman is making her name in Hollywood as a screenwriter of existing material. Here the story is tight and manages to skip by at a good pace, providing the pre-requisite chills at regular intervals (this does mean however that the opening half hour includes most of the black cat moments).

If this is the quality of film’s we can expect from Hammer from here on in, then their future is assured.

Steven Hurst